We are proud of what we do as logging professionals. Our industry has a rich history of providing many of the goods and services that make our world a better place. For many years now, the forest products industry has been under attack by those who do not understand what we do or the benefits of forestry to society.
Weâ€™ve assembled resources that we hope will encourage and educate you.
North Carolina Forestry Facts
In NC, about 90 percent of our 31 million acres is privately held creating opportunity for self-reliance as individuals and a state.
NC possesses 18.6 million acres of timberland. Non-industrial private landowners own sixty-four percent. Just 13 percent is non-industrial corporate and eight percent is industry owned.
The forest products industry, employing over 68,000 people, is NCâ€™s number one manufacturing industry, contributing $3.1 billion in annual payroll. The industry relies heavily on private landowners to provide the raw materials used in manufacturing value-added forest products, from building materials to paper products and more.
Forestland ownership in NC, and the South as a whole, is following trends driven largely by increased costs for maintaining working land coupled with increased gains for converting land to industrial scale wind or solar energy, farming and forestry as well as urbanized development.
A forest that â€œworks,â€ produces a host of ecological and economic goods and services to its stewards. Think recreation, clean water, shade, wildlife, furniture, lumber, medicines, food â€“ the list goes on with more than 5,000 documented forest-related benefits to man, plant and animal alike.According to the National Association of Forest Owners, â€œprivate working forests are intentionally managed for the long-term to provide continuous economic value to various stakeholders â€“ essential goods and services, family-wage jobs, economic support to communities and the nation, and returns to forest owners.â€Inherent in the ability for both public and private owners of forests to keep them in a working condition, is the need for economic returns that can support on-going management.Forests that are utilized for some economic return within the confines of good, sustainable management practices tend to be healthier, providing the full range of economic, ecological, aesthetic and spiritual benefits Americanâ€™s appreciate.
Forest Products and Industry Facts
- The U.S. forest products industry is the largest in the world. It accounts for 9% of total U.S. manufacturing shipments, placing it on par with the automotive and plastics industries.
- The global forest products industry employed 13,700,000 people in 2006 and accounted for $468 billion in gross revenues.
- S. forests support more than 2.9 million jobs and $100 billion in payroll. Forest-related jobs dwarf the high-tech industry. The combined global workforces of Google (32,467), Apple (63,300), Facebook (3,000), Microsoft (90,000), Cisco (71,825), and Amazon.com (56,200) totaled 316,792 as of the end of 2011 according to University of Michigan professor Gerald Davis
- Forest products value in excess of $263 billion in sales annually, including $23 billion in exports. These products result also in $115 billion towards GDP, and $4.4 billion in state income and severance taxes
- On average a 1,000 acres of private working forestland contributes approximately $30,000 in taxes and fees paid to governments.
- Sustainable, working forests in the U.S. require a sixty-year planning horizon: site selection, environmental laws and regulations, permits, road systems designed and maintained, market research and timing, labor of harvesting as well as other issues, such as insects, disease or invasive plants replanting.
- In 2011, pulp and paper makers recovered 66.8% of paper consumed. Every ton of paper that is recovered saves 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space.
- The first paper merchant in America was Benjamin Franklin, who helped to start 18 paper mills in Virginia and surrounding areas. For hundreds of years, cotton and linen rags were the papermaker’s raw materials.
- Wood products are among the most energy efficient. Building products made from aluminum, for example, require 126 times more energy than wood to fashion a final product. Products made from steel, glass, plastic, cement, or brick require approximately 24, 14, 6, and 4.5 times more energy, respectively, than does wood to make a final product While wood accounts for 46 percent of industrial raw materials (by weight) worldwide, it uses only 4 percent of the energy required to process raw materials into useful products.
- Ounce for ounce, wood is the strongest structural material commonly used in building.
- A 1,800 sq. ft. house requires about 39.5 trees to build.
- A hardwood floor over a wood subfloor (approx. 1 Â½ inches thick) provides thermal insulation equal to 22 inches of concrete floor.
- Large wooden beams are more resistant to collapse during a fire than uninsulated steel beams of similar strength. A layer of char forms on wooden beams which insulates the inside, greatly slowing strength reduction. Steel beams conduct heat rapidly throughout, losing much strength quickly.
- More than 95% of the bark and wood residues generated from lumber and plywood manufacturing is used to generate energy (electricity and heat) and create other products, virtually eliminating waste.
- The forest products industry generates approximately 80 percent of all renewable biomass energy, making it the nationâ€™s largest industrial renewable energy producer.
- The Food and Agricultural Orgaization of the UNÂ claims wood is still the most important single source of renewable energy providing over 9% primary global energy supply. More than two billion people depend on wood energy for cooking and/or heating, particularly in households in developing countries.
Source of Statistics: American Forest & Paper Association, Evergreen Foundation, National Association of Forest Owners. The Campbell Group
Did You Know About Forests
- Annually, U.S. forestland owners plant about 6 trees for every tree harvested.
- U.S. forest growth rates have exceeded harvest rates since the 1940’s.
- Trees supply oxygen in the air we need to breathe and keep our air supply fresh by absorbing carbon dioxide.
- Trees lower air temperatures by evaporating water from their leaves.
- Trees cut down on noise pollution by a 6 to 8 decibel reduction in noise per 100 feet of forest cover.
- Trees provide shade and shelter, reducing yearly heating and cooling costs in the U.S. by $2.1 billion.
- Tree roots stabilize the soil and prevent soil erosion.
- An acre of trees grows 4,000 pounds of wood per year, consuming 5,800 pounds of carbon dioxide and releasing 4,280 pounds of oxygen. Old, slow growing forests can consume more oxygen than they produce but young, vigorous forests tend to be the most efficient at absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen.
Logger Education and Safety
The NCFAâ€™s ProLogger Program was officially started in 1994 as a cooperativeÂ effort directed byÂ the NCFA, Forestry Mutual Insurance Company, the North Carolina Department of Labor, and the North Carolina Forest Service. Learn more about theÂ North Carolina Forestry Associationâ€™s ProLogger Certification ProgramÂ here.
The base ProLogger courseÂ promotes safety, business and environmental awareness.
Currently, over 1,400 ProLoggers have taken the base class and have met their continuing education requirement.
Forest Myth versus Fact
Myth: Forest management harms fragile wetlands.
Fact: In fact, good forest management is the environmentally preferred land use for wetlands, as confirmed by the National Wetlands Policy Forum sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Myth: Clear cutting, the practice of harvesting most trees in a given area, destroys the forest.
Fact: Clear cutting is a sound practice that benefits future forests. By mimicking natural wildfires, clear cutting is widely recognized by forest scientists and even by conservation groups such as the Environmental Defense Fund, American Forests, the Society of American Foresters as an ecologically sound technique for reforesting many softwood species. That’s because, for their survival, conifer seedlings typically require direct sunlight and cannot survive in shade.
Myth: A natural forest supports more ecological diversity than a managed forest.
Fact: Managed forests, even those with some clear-cutting, often produce more biodiversity than completely natural forests, according to U.S. Forest Service studies in the Lake States and New England. Even tree farm plantations contain a rich mosaic of plant and animal life.
Myth: Forest management harms all wildlife.
Fact: Forest management can help wildlife. Forest management creates openings that stimulate the growth of food sources-which is the prime reason why forest species such as elk, deer, turkey and antelope are far more plentiful today than earlier in the century. Sustainable Forestry guidelines promulgated by the American Forest & Paper Association require the promotion of habitat diversity and the conservation of plant and animal populations on members’ forestland.
Myth: More paper recycling will prevent the use of “virgin” wood from harvested trees.
Fact: Even if we could recycle 100% of our used paper, we would still need “virgin” fiber to replace worn-out recycled fiber and meet the increasing demand for paper products. Recycling extends the use of virgin fiber, but it will not replace it. Even so, today well over half of all fiber used in paper products comes from recycled paper and from wood waste from sawmills. Recycled wood is another promising source of fiber.
The Many Products of Trees
Solid wood is used to produce:
lumber, flooring, wall paneling, posts, poles, piling to support buildings and bridges, barrels, tubs, shakes/shingles, charcoal, excelsior, pallets, fuelwood, railroad ties, poles, mine timbers, furniture, molding, picture frames, measuring rulers, lumber-drying spacers (stickers), scaffold boards, roof and floor trusses, window and door frames, spring supports for some vibrating conveyors, center spars for some helicopter rotors, rowboats, canoes, sailboats, motorboats, saddle parts, mobile homes/campers, some automobile bodies (e.g. the English-made Morgan Plus 4), horse-pulled wagons and buggies, coffins, animal cages, packing cases, wire reels, axles for various rolled products, walking canes, crutches, hiking staffs, tool handles
Composite wood products include:
veneer, plywood, decorative paneling, insulation board, hardboard (Masonite), medium-density fiberboard (MDF), particle board, oriented strand board (OSB), laminated veneer lumber (LVL), parallel strand lumber (PSL and Parallam), veneer or plywood/particle board lumber and panels (COM-PLY), acoustic panels, fire-retardant excelsior-cement board panels, plywood/expanded-foam construction panels, plywood/expanded-paper-core doors, wood I-beams, laminated beams, scaffold boards.
Dimensionally stabilized wood products are used where stability is necessary but other wood properties are desirable: Impreg (for fabrication of metal dies), Compreg (for tooling jigs, bobbins, for textile looms, cutlery handles, novelties).
Paper products from wood fibers include:
containers and sheet goods such as: corrugated containers (cardboard boxes), milk cartons, food container boxes, newsprint, writing paper, magazines, books, paper bags, punch cards, electrical insulation, file folders, sheathing papers for construction, roofing felts, felts for asphalt tile, toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, disposable clothes, catalogs, wallpaper, computer paper, adding machine/cash register paper, shipping tubes, drums and cans, egg crates, cigarette papers, bandages, thermal insulation, photographic slide holders.
Other wood-pulp and cellulose products are made into plastics and used in many different capacities such as:
rayon textile, furfural (a component of nylon), toys, lamp shades, vacuum cleaner parts, combs, housewares, telephones, portable radio cases, pipe and tubing, tool handles, electrical insulation components, car hardware, glasses frames, fabric coatings.
Other cellulose products from trees include:
photographic film, smokeless gunpowder, formic acid, levulinic acid, sorbitol, propylene and ethylene glycols, glycerine, proteins, vitamins.
Tree-produced chemicals are used for many varied products too such as:
paint solvents, odorants, bactericides, pine oils, insecticides, adhesives, flavorings (such as lemon, lime, peppermint, spearmint, nutmeg, lilac, violet, lily of the valley, rose), fabric treatments, inks, soaps, detergents, hard-floor coverings, paper sizing (slick-paper coatings), chewing gum, rosin bags, violin-bow rosin, drilling-mud thinners, leather-tanning agents, water-treatment chemicals, ethyl alcohol for disinfectant/sterilization and beverages, gasohol, synthetic rubber, Torula yeast, vanillin (vanilla flavoring) dimethyl-sulfide and dimethyl sulfozide (industrial and pharmaceutical solvents), acetic acid, activated charcoal (for especially effective filtering), molasses for animal feeds, artificial sweeteners, resin for mounting optical lenses and microscopic slides, flypaper, ointments and salves, porous plaster, maple syrup, dyes, taxol (anti-cancer drug).
Tree-produced nuts and fruits are healthy foods, such as:
pecans, walnuts, butternuts, beechnuts, pinyon pine nuts, chestnuts, apples, oranges, limes, lemons, grapefruit, peaches, plums, apricots, pears, figs, persimmons, cherries.
Decorative tree parts for special occasions include:
pine cones, spruce cones, hemlock cones, Douglas fir cones, Deodara cedar cone parts (wood roses), tree boughs.
Wood substrate for various miscellaneous products such as:
Shitake mushrooms, decorative mistletoe.
Miscellaneous wood-based products such as:
animal bedding, mulch, decorative jewelry, jewelry boxes, novelty souvenirs, letter openers, writing pens, pencils, toys, models (planes, boats, cars, etc.).
Who Owns The Forests
The American Forest in Geographical and Historical Context
Learn about America’s amazing forest legacy and history here.
The U.S. land base is 2.27 billion acres. Approximately 650 million acres (30 percent) are under some form of federal ownership. Of those acres, 270 (or 258) million are set aside as wildlife refuges, parks, and wilderness areas.
The remaining 70 percent of the land base is held in various forms of private ownership.
For the last 100 years, forestland has remained relatively stable at 751 million acres (approximately 33 percent of the land base). This figure represents about 70 percent of the original American forest. In 1600, forests covered about one billion acres.
Eastern forests cover about 384 million acres and are predominantly broadleaf (74%), with the exception of extensive coniferous forests and plantations in the southern coastal region. These forests are largely in private ownership (83%). By contrast, about 363 million acres of western forests are predominantly coniferous (78%) and in public ownership (57%).
There is a distinction between forestland and timberland. Two-thirds of U.S. forestland (about 504 million acres) is classified as timberland. Timberland is capable of growing 20 cubic feet of commercial wood per acre per year.
The annual growth of Americaâ€™s timberlands exceeds harvests by 47 percent each year.
An Economic History of American Forests
Forests formed the economic foundation of this nation. Until the last half of the 19th century, wood warmed people, cooked their food, produced iron, and drove locomotives, steamboats, and stationary engines. The first export was lumber sent by the Pilgrims back to England beginning in 1621. Colonial economies grew as they shipped white pine ship masts, oak planking, and cedar timbers back across the Atlantic.
Lumber, timbers, and other structural products were primary building materials for houses, barns, fences, bridges, dams and locks. By 1850, there were about 3.2 million miles of wooden fence in the U.S.
Wood provided 90 percent of the nationâ€™s energy in 1850; 75 percent in 1870 and by 1920 only 10 percent. The move to coal decreased demand for firewood but increased the demand for timber mine props. Wood energy supplies about 3 percent of U.S. energy needs today, two-thirds of which is produced in industrial processes.
Forest Product Industry Decline from 2005 to 2012:
- New residential construction dropped from 1.7 million units annually to 450,000.
- 1,009 sawmills, 15 pulp mills, and 148 other mills closed – 19 percent of all mills in the forest sector.
- Closures of primary mills and secondary wood-manufacturing facilities have resulted in a loss of 294,000 full-time jobs; not including thousands of part-time and self-employed loses.
- Full-time wages in the wood-processing sector are down $9 billion.
Current annual lumber production is down 20 billion board feet (40 percent)-the lowest output since 1982.
More Useful Links
- Evergreen Magazine is part of the Evergreen Foundation, a non-profit forestry research and educational organization (EIN: 94-3112976) incorporated in Oregon in 1990. The mission is to help advance public understanding and support for science-based forestry and forest policy. Evergreen seeks to be an effective national advocate and valuable public education resource to advance the pursuit of healthy, productive and sustainable forests, forest practices, and forest policy.
- GoWood Blog is produced by Chuck Ray, Extension Specialist at the Pennsylvania State University, and is about anything remotely related to wood that might be of interest to folks.
- He authored a paper back in 2007 on the concept of “The Virtual Extension Specialist.”
- Watch I, Pencil, a film from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, adapted from the 1958 essay by Leonard E. Read.
- Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standards