The National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) today released new data confirming the strong value forest owners provide to the U.S. economy. “The Economic Impact of Privately-Owned Forest in the United States” reveals forest owners support 2.4 million jobs, $87 billion in payroll, $223 billion in sales and 5.7 percent of all U.S. manufacturing. In addition to the full report, NAFO’s interactive U.S. map provides a convenient snapshot of individual state data.
“Private forest owners are a driver of the U.S. economy by providing millions of jobs while producing a broad range of goods and services that improve quality of life in every home and community," said Dave Tenny, NAFO President and CEO. “Private forest owners are able to provide these substantial benefits because they recognize that responsible management today yields sustainable economic and environmental benefits over the long term.”
The report, conducted by Forest2Market, is an update to NAFO’s inaugural report in 2009. It provides national, regional and state-specific data on jobs, payroll, sales, acreage ownership and contribution to overall manufacturing and gross domestic product. Data is based on 2010, the most recent and complete year for which data is available.
Strong markets for working forests enable forest owners to make investments in forest stewardship that result in the following:
- 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% between 1953 and 2011.
- For the past 100 years, the amount of forestland in the United States has remained relatively stable, at around 755 million acres, thanks to improvements in markets for forest products and reforestation efforts.
- More than half of the freshwater supply, 53 percent, originates on forestlands. Outside of the Western region of the U.S., state and private lands provide 89 percent or higher.
- 20% of US forestland is under some type of conservation program, which is almost twice the world average of 11%.
- Assessments of biodiversity on the nation’s forests have found that the annual rate at which species are listed as threatened or endangered has declined fivefold.
- Private working forests are essential to achieving our national renewable energy and climate change objectives.
- Energy from forest biomass accounts for roughly 22.2% of renewable energy consumption nationally.
- The EPA reports that carbon storage in U.S. forests continues to increase, offsetting about 14% of annual U.S. emissions from burning fossil fuels
NAFO is an organization of private forest owners committed to advancing federal policies that promote the economic and environmental benefits of privately-owned forests at the national level.NAFO membership encompasses more than 80 million acres of private forestland in 47 states. Working forests in the U.S. support 2.4 million jobs. To see the full economic impact of America’s working forests, visit www.nafoalliance.org/economic-impact-report