As the United States celebrates National Forest Products Week it is important to recognize the role of forest landowners, the unsung heroes and stewards of our forests, who have made the United States the world’s top wood producer, providing nearly half of the global supply of wood fiber.
In the southern United States, there are 212 million acres of private forests that are owned and sustainably managed by families and private companies – 86 percent of the total forestland – that contribute to rural economies and provide environmental health benefits. With 88 percent of timber harvests nationwide coming from private land, these landowners are crucial to the national timber supply.
National Forest Products Week reminds Americans that well-managed forests supply the wood and fiber essential to the production of everyday goods. Demand for these products, and the timber that is used to create them, make it possible for private forest owners to be economically viable, which in turn provides them with the resources to maintain healthy and productive forests.Scott Jones, CEO, Forest Landowners
The private landowners’ sustainable practices of planting, growing, and harvesting trees for domestic wood supply, lead to increased jobs in the forest supply chain and a smaller dependence on imports. In Mississippi, forest landowners’ contributions are so critical to domestic supply chains that they were designated an essential workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With active management by Mississippi’s landowners, the state’s 15 million acres of private forest contribute significantly to the economy and environmental health of its residents:
- ECONOMIC POWERHOUSE – When it comes to being a high roller, forestry’s economic impact trumps the state’s gaming revenue by 6x ($13B vs. $2B)
- JOBS CREATED – Forestry supports 4x more jobs in Mississippi than Sanderson Farms employees, the states #1 employer (62,000 vs 14,000).
- PAYCHECKS FOR FAMILIES – Paychecks in the pockets of families employed by forestry total $2 billion, which could buy 15,000.00 homes annually.
- FUNDING SCHOOLS & COMMUNITIES – $366 million in taxes paid to the state by forestry jobs could pay the annual salaries of 7,000 teachers in the Mississippi school system.
- GROWING OXYGEN – Mississippi’s private forests produce enough oxygen for 148 million residents to breathe every year.
- FORESTS TO FAUCETS – 52% of Mississippi’s water supply flows from private forests. Additionally, 100,000 residents get more than half their drinking water from private forests.
“Whether you care about drinking water, clean air, or economic benefits, our country must understand the role that forest landowners play and the importance of harvesting timber to provide income for the caretakers of the forests.” added Jones. “Growing, harvesting, and replanting trees is in the national interest of America’s forest products supply chain, rural economies, and the environment.”
About Forest Landowners
The Forest Landowners Association represents the economic interests of private forest landowners and their unique natural resource assets. Our members range from forest businesses whose land has been in their families for generations to those who have become forest landowners because they view forests as a long-term investment. Regardless of property size, our members manage their land with a sustainable approach, ensuring the prosperity of their forests for future generations. We are comprised of members whose land has remained in their family for generations, and others that are recent investors, REITs, and business owners.