Working Forests

Private working forests are a critical part of our natural resource infrastructure because they are fundamental to a strong economy and a clean and healthy environment.

  • The U.S. grows more trees than it harvests. USDA reports that the standing inventory (volume of growing trees) in U.S. forests has grown by 50% from 1953 to 2011.[1]
  • Private forests account for 56% or 420 million acres[2] owned by 22 million[3] private owners.

Private working forests provide continuous environmental and social benefits to the nation while maintaining their value to the forest owner.

  • More than a quarter of America’s water is filtered by private forests.[4]
  • 60% of America’s at-risk wildlife relies on private forests.[5]
  • Private forests contain more than 40% of the U.S. distribution of 152 forest bird species.[6]

U.S. private working forests are responsibly managed for the long-term to provide continuous economic value – essential goods and services, good jobs, economic support to communities and the nation, and revenue to forest owners.

  • Private forests support 2.4 million jobs and $99 billion in payroll.[7]
  • Private forests produce $281 billion in annual sales.[8]

Forests are essential to achieving our national objectives for addressing climate change and developing new domestic sources of low carbon renewable energy.

  • Energy from forest biomass is the original renewable energy and accounts for 8% of renewable electricity production.[9]
  • According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the net growth in U.S. forests offsets 13% of total U.S. CO2 emissions annually.[10]

 


[1] Future of America’s Forests and Rangelands: Forest Service 2010 Resources Planning Act Assessment (p. 47-48).

[2] Future of America’s Forests and Rangelands: Forest Service 2010 Resources Planning Act Assessment (p. 47-48).

[3] National Woodland Owners Survey, preliminary results, 2013 (slide 12).

[4] Private Forests, Public Benefits: Increased Housing Density and Other Pressures on Private Forest Contributions, U.S. Forest Service (December 2009).

[5] Threats to At-Risk Species in America's Private Forests, U.S. Forest Service (October 2010).

[6] The State of the Birds, 2013, Report of Private Lands, USA.

[7] National Alliance of Forest Owners, Economic Impact of Privately-Owned Forests in the United States, 2016.

[8] Id.

[9] U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review.

[10] Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990 – 2013, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (p. ES-20) (April, 2015)

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