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Fact Sheet #01:
Impact of the Forest Sector in the
Washington State Economy

2001

Save or Print a PDF copy of Fact Sheet #01



Over 20,000 owners in WA State manage forestland for commercial, recreational and resource protection objectives.

As a manufacturing industry the forest sector ranks second with 15% of the Gross Business Income, well behind transportation (primarily aircraft) at 42% but above food products at 11%.

More than 51% of the total land in the state, or approximately 21 million acres, is in forestland.

As a result, the forest sector supports a very diverse array of outputs compared to other sectors, including wood and paper products, recreation, water protection, habitat and wildlife. These outputs are renewable and sustainable.

Timberland ownership is roughly half public and half private. Almost 20% of the timberlands have been placed in reserves with most on public lands. Most other public lands are managed to provide income for trust beneficiaries including schools, universities and counties
Earlier studies suggested a sustainable annual harvest potential for Washington State of 6.3 billion board feet but harvest levels have fallen to about 4.3 billion in recent years as a result of efforts to protect endangered species. In effect, some 45% of all timberland acres are not available for harvest. They have either been placed in reserves or restricted by regulations. Eighty two percent of the harvest in 1999 was supplied by the private sector, or 97% when including the trust lands managed by the state.

1999 Timber Harvest (thousand board feet)

Forest Industry
1,864,325
42.5%
Nonindustrial Private
(includes Native Am.)
1,715,395
39.1%
Private Large
586,378
13.4%
Private Small
795,113
18.1%
Native American
333,904
7.6%
Total Private
3,579,720
81.7%
State
662,479
15.1%
Other Non-Federal
15,091
0.3%
National Forest
116,819
2.7%
Other Federal
8,670
0.2%
Total Public
803,059
18.3%
All Ownership
4,382,779
100%



The forest sector annually generates over $12 billion in gross business income with lumber and wood products slightly larger than paper and allied products.

Total Gross Business Income by Industry
(Million Dollars)

  1999 2000 % of Total

Forestry
$305
$317
 
Manufacturing
$86,231
$84,043
 
Lumber and wood products
$8,302
$6,774
8%
Paper and allied products
$3,452
$5,742
7%
Other trans. equipment
$40,672
$34,979
42%
Food and kindred products
$8,914
$8,845
11%

The lumber and paper sectors provided direct employment for 48,905 workers in 1999 with over 2 billion in wages. About 11 direct industry jobs and many more indirect jobs are supported by each 1 million board feet of harvest. These statistics do not include many proprietors and transportation workers associated with production.

Direct Employment in 1999 Annual Wage
  
Forestry
2,374
$61,902,951
Lumber & Wood Products
33,133
$1,251,950,933
Paper & Allied Products
15,772
$807,339,971
Total
51,279
$2,121,193,855


The unemployment in timber dependent counties remained much higher than in urban counties.

International exports have historically been important but have declined from 37% of revenue in 1995 to only 20% by 1998 as a consequence of the Asian crisis, currency rates and other competitive pressures.

Using the most recent analysis of indirect impacts in order to estimate the size of the economy with and without the Forest Sector, reveals that this sector supports 195,730 jobs across the state or 7.4% of total employment. Of these, 49% or 96,000 jobs are outside the metropolitan Puget Sound Region.

Forestry Industry Impacts in Washington
(using Conway's 1992 study)

 
1999
Without Forest Products
Difference
% Difference

Total Employment
2,645,008
2,449,278
195,730
7.4
Manufacturing
359,049
295,497
63,552
17.7
Lumber and
Wood Products
33,133
0
33,133
100
Pulp and Paper Products
15,772
0
15,772
100
Other Manufacturing
48,905
47,780
1,125
2.3
Gross State Product (mil $)
209,958
193,791
16,167
7.7

 







The income in timber dependent counties have fallen behind the income in urban areas as a consequence of the declining harvest related to endangered species regulations, reduced competitiveness and the trend of income growth in urban areas.

 
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences
USDA Forest Service State & Private Forestry
WSU Cooperative Extension
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Last Updated 11/4/2019 3:31:55 PM