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New Study Quantifies the Economic Impact of Private, Working Forests in the US

April 26, 2019
Author: Forest2Market

Forest2Market has completed a new study commissioned by the National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) that analyzes the economic impact of private, working forests on the US economy. The study and resulting published report, titled The Economic Impact of Privately-Owned Forests in the 32 Major Forested States, quantifies the contribution that forestry-related industries make to state, regional and national economies, and analyzes the most forested regions of the country based on the most recent year of data available, which is 2016.

The report updates previous reports that analyzed data in a similar manner from 2013 (published in 2016), 2010 (published in 2013) and 2006 (published in 2009) and quantifies the following:

  • Employment levels
  • Payroll contributions
  • Value of timber sales
  • Value of manufacturing shipments
  • Manufacturing contribution to Gross Domestic Product

The following map identifies the regions that were the subject of the study.



Broad Study Findings

Of the 455.9 million acres of timberland within the 32-state study area, 335.5 million acres (74%) are privately-owned while only 120.4 million acres (26%) are publicly-owned. This translates into a much stronger economic impact associated with private timberlands.

  • Approximately 935,000 of the 1.09 million direct jobs and $47.2 of the $55.4 billion of the direct payroll in forestry-related businesses is attributable to private timberlands. The total direct, indirect and induced employment effect associated with private timberlands is around 2.5 million jobs and $109.4 billion in annual payroll.
  • Approximately $8.8 of the $10.2 billion in annual timber sales were sourced from private timberlands. Over $279.3 of the $326.3 billion in manufacturing shipments were likewise attributable to private timberlands.
  • Private timberlands contributed approximately $92.0 billion of the total $107.5 billion contribution of forestry-related businesses to GDP. On average, private timberlands supported 5.2% of manufacturing GDP and 0.7% of total GDP in the study area.

Read the full study and use the interactive state data feature on NAFO's website.


About NAFO

The National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) is a national advocacy organization committed to advancing federal policies that support the long-term economic, social and environmental benefits of sustainably managed privately-owned forests. NAFO member companies own and manage more than 43 million acres of private working forests – forests that are managed to provide a steady supply of timber. NAFO’s membership also includes state and national associations representing tens of millions of additional acres.


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