Associated Oregon Loggers, Inc.
2015 Madrona Avenue, Salem, OR
Sustaining Forest Economy - Forest Sector Contribution
Forest Economic Sustainable Image


Forest Economic Sustainable Image Jobs and Oregon’s Forest Sector

Oregon’s Abundant and Renewable Forests

Oregon’s Working Forests

Oregon: We’re Great at Forestry and Forest Products!

Rural Livelihood

Revenues to County Government

Wood Use in Our Daily Lives

What Oregon Forest Products Go to America

Forest Economic Sustainable Image

Nearly half the state of Oregon is forested—a total of 30 million acres of forestland. The forest sector remains a resilient and vital contributor to the state’s economy, especially in rural communities surrounded by forests. Read more about the forest sector’s economic contributions to Oregon’s economy in this report: The 2012 Forest Report.

Timber remains an economic cornerstone in rural Oregon, where wood products companies are often the largest employer in town. In some counties, the forest sector represents 20% of the economic base. Oregon’s “forest sector”—the forest landowners, loggers, managers, forestry professionals, transportation vendors, manufacturers, and distributors—is always a perennial top-2 or top-3 traded good sector of the state economy. That means that forest products are the second or third most valuable manufactured good that’s sold out-of-state (competing with high tech and agriculture).

Jobs and Oregon’s Forest Sector

Forest Economic Sustainable Image According to 2012 data, forest products and forestry services directly employ more than 76,000 people in Oregon, and another 37,000 workers supply and service the forest industry. These jobs are particularly critical to rural communities where wood product manufacturing can account for more than 50% of all manufacturing jobs. The sector pays family-wages that sustain the rural communities where most forest industry workers make their livelihood. The average wage in the forest sector is $43,023, markedly above the statewide average.

  • More than 76,000 Oregon jobswage in the forest sector is $43,023, markedly above the statewide average.
  • More than 76,000 Oregon jobs
  • 5.3% of all jobs in Oregon
  • Average wage of $43,023

One of every 20 jobs in the state depends on the forest sector and the active management of forests. The growing and harvest of trees, along with their conversion into forest products makes up 7% of Oregon’s economic base — $12.7 billion. That makes forest products one of Oregon’s largest traded good sectors (2nd or 3rd largest), exporting products to other states and countries.

About 11 forest sector jobs are created or retained for every 1 million board feet of timber harvested, roughly equal to the volume from about 40 acres of mature trees. Oregon has 30 million acres of forestland.

The future outlook for Oregon’s forest sector is bright. The Great Recession, between 2007 and 2012, reduced U.S. forest product consumption, there’s good news ahead for Oregon’s forest industry. It appears the worst is over. Given improving market conditions and a dependable timber supply, Oregon’s forest sector is poised to rebound. The sector can create thousands of new, well-paying forest sector jobs as the domestic economy accelerates and global appetite for wood products rebounds.

Oregon’s Abundant and Renewable Forests

Forest Economic Sustainable Image Forests cover about half of Oregon and are fundamental to the livelihood of many Oregonians. Forests remain Oregon’s most abundant natural resource and they are a crucial part of the state’s economy. Statewide the 30 million acres of forestland are among America’s best and most productive commercial tree-growing land. Forests—and their renewable growth—are a competitive asset for Oregon’s economy, and these forests have helped assure that the state’s forest sector has remained a nation leading producer of structural wood products for more than a half century.

And, the outlook for future prosperity and increased future Oregon forest production are extremely bright! Oregon’s forest industry for two decades has harvested significantly less timber volume than has been growing in Oregon’s vast forestlands. Oregon’s private forestlands are growing more than ever before, and private forest harvest volumes remain below annual growth volume. Public forestlands harvest just a fraction of their annual growth. Oregon forests now have an abundant inventory of available mature timber volume, as well as continuous productive forest growth maturing in the coming years.

The total acreage of Oregon’s forestland has remained virtually unchanged since 1953. Yet during the same time period, timber harvesting has produced more than 400 billion board feet of timber volume. To put this number in perspective, Oregon’s forests since 1953 have provided enough timber to frame 25 million homes* without a reduction in either forest area or the forest volume growing on the forestland statewide. Oregon forests today have a comparable or greater volume of timber growing than the forest volume existing in 1953. Now that’s what you call renewable forests and sustainability!

Forest Economic Sustainable Image Today, more than 76 percent of Oregon’s timber harvest production comes from forestlands that are owned by private companies, small private families, and native tribes. As active forest managers, these forest owners are leaders in sustainable forest management practices. To accelerate growth and improve yield per acre, today’s professional forest managers optimize methods of reforestation, harvest technology, thinning, damage prevention, and while protecting natural resources.

The remaining 18-24 percent of Oregon’s timber harvest production comes from public forestlands that are owned by the federal government, state forests, county forests, and miscellaneous owners. It is surprising that this 24% of statewide harvest on public forests comes from a majority (64%) of the total forestlands in Oregon. Historically low harvest and management of public forests increasingly results in overcrowded and unhealthy public forests that are subject to wildfires, pests and disease. Oregon’s forest managers and policymakers are today challenged with escalating public forest dilemmas surrounding catastrophic losses and unsustainable policies that hinder professional management to address the mounting losses—especially on federal forests.

As the country’s economy and housing starts have declined, Oregon’s annual timber harvest lagged during the recession (2007-12). Harvest levels from combined private and public forests now total nearly 4 billion board feet per year — which is only about half of the new growth being added to Oregon forests each year. Harvest on state and private forestland has remained stable yet below sustainable levels, harvesting somewhat less than annual forest growth. On the other hand, federal forestland harvest has declined by more than 90% over the last two decades, due to escalating legal gridlock surrounding conflicting federal laws, policies, plans and court rulings.

* Building an average 2,000-square-foot home consumes 15,800 board feet of framing lumber, not including many other forest products in the home

Oregon’s Working Forests

Forest Economic Sustainable Image A working forest is a forest owned and responsibly-managed over the long-term to provide benefits to the forest owner, the environment, and to society. Working forests—which are generally privately-owned or multiple-use public forests—are intentionally managed for the long-term to provide continuous economic and social values to various stakeholders, including essential goods and services, family-wage jobs, economic support to communities and the nation, and returns to the forest landowners. While economic and social values are foremost in working forests, environmental protection remains an important value to protect and foster.

Active management of working forests produces a rich suite of environmental, economic and social benefits—many benefits that are not produced so well from reserved forests or multiple-use forests. Keeping working forests as part of the forest landscape will continue only through the economic incentive of robust forest product markets and effective public policy. Government forest policies should encourage the perpetuation and active management of working forests—because these working forests provide important diversity of management styles, income and biodiversity that is essential to healthy forests and a healthy rural forest economy.

Working forests (private forests and public multiple-use forests) are a critical part of our nation’s natural resource infrastructure because they are fundamental to a strong economy, and they are an economic and social engine in rural communities and within resource-based economies. Working forests create a clean and healthy environment, where wood product output, recreational uses, and diverse fish & wildlife habitat can all remain abundant and coexist quite well. More than half of America’s freshwater supply, 53 percent, originates on forestlands—most of those are working forests and multiple-use forestlands (both private and public forests).

Working forests help achieve national objectives for addressing climate change, and working forests are a new domestic source of low-carbon renewable biomass energy. Across America, the forest industry generates 80% of all renewable biomass energy, making it the nation’s largest industrial renewable energy producer.

The US forest products industry, and private working forests, is among the top 10 manufacturing employers in 48 states; in Oregon the forest sector is perennially a top-2 or top-3 traded good sector of the economy.

Oregon: We’re Great at Forestry and Forest Products!

Forest Economic Sustainable Image Oregon forestlands are some of the most productive in the world. The state’s mild climate, deep soils and abundant rainfall make it one of the best places to grow trees. Surrounding these productive forests, over the past century Oregon’s forest sector has emerged to become a nation-leading manufacturer and producer of forest products. A strong business, community and government atmosphere has helped support both forestry and timber milling alike.

Oregonians and their economy are rewarded by the following forest sector advantages:

  • Public support for the economic, environmental and social contributions of a stable and sustainable forest sector
  • Solid science backing from educational and research institutions, such as Oregon St. University College of Forestry and USDA Pacific NW Research Station
  • Strong forest laws that ensure landowners employ sound forest management practices while protecting the environment
  • Forest Economic Sustainable Image
  • Productive forestlands and abundant forests growing far more volume than is harvested, increasing the amount of future harvest opportunity
  • Nation-leading forest product manufacturing industry that’s state-of-the-art and competitive to serve markets
  • Superior forest management, harvesting and construction operations, regarded nationwide
  • Effective transportation and distribution systems that successfully trade forest products
  • Location—situated on the Pacific Rim with ready access to deliver forest products to both global and domestic markets
  • Innovation in technology and operations that continuously improves for future markets in products, manufacturing, harvesting, forestry, and distribution.

As a result of forest sector advancements, by internationally recognized standards of sustainability, Oregon is a world leader in timber production, wood product manufacturing, and sustainable forestry. A new economic assessment of Oregon’s forest and wood products manufacturing sector is available at:

Rural Livelihood

Forest Economic Sustainable Image In much of rural Oregon, timber remains an economic cornerstone, particularly in the rural communities near forestlands. In counties such as Clatsop, Douglas, and Lake, the forest sector contributes 20% to 30% of each county’s economic output— and 12% to 18% of all jobs.

Rural communities have grown, tended, logged and protected nearby forests for well over a century. The forest management—and forest product manufacturing—culture is thoroughly woven into the fabric of over a hundred Oregon communities. The forest sector today remains one of Oregon’s top traded goods that fuels the state’s quality of life, its commerce and society. Even cities such as Eugene-Springfield derives vital contributions to its civic, education, business, employment, manufacturing and cultural communities—because the forest sector is a major component for the city’s residents, employment, commerce and government—either directly, indirectly, or induced.

Community stability and growth occurs in communities, which are located near Oregon forests actively managed for either timber production or multiple uses. Working forests in America have proven to sustainably support strong communities, vibrant societies, rewarding values, rising commerce, expanding workforce, and population growth. Where actively managed productive forests are near a community, there exist many important societal advantages.

Because of the recession (2007-12), fewer of these jobs exist than in the past, especially in Eastern Oregon communities. However, the recession is only partially explains impacts to eastside forest communities. Timber mills need a dependable flow of logs, and the decline of federal forest management in the past decade has reduced that flow to a trickle. In Eastern Oregon, the federal government owns more than two-thirds of all forestlands, yet supplied only about one-third of the harvest in 2011, which represented just 7% of federal forest growth. This lack of supply has resulted in 49 fewer Oregon primary wood manufacturing facilities than existed statewide in 2003. The impact of declining federal forest harvest, especially in Eastern Oregon, has severely harmed community stability, employment, commerce, and government.

Revenues to County Government

Forest Economic Sustainable Image The forest sector provides about 5 percent of annual state and local government revenue. Taxes paid to state and local governments peaked at $375 million in 2005, and fell to $242 million in 2010 as harvest levels fell and forest sector profits dried up. Several county governments also receive revenue from state forest timber sales. In 2005, 15 counties received $58 million, but by 2011 that amount had dropped to $38 million. Common School Forest Lands include 120,000 acres and generated $8.7 million in revenue in 2011, and $19 million in 2005.

Much of the land within Oregon's rural counties is federal forestland, managed by the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Allocated to schools/roads/public safety, county governments receive 25% of the revenue generated from USFS timber sales, and 50% of timber sale revenues generated from BLM forests. Beginning in the early 1990s, decreased timber sales from federal forests cause a sharp decline in timber sale revenue paid to county governments. To stabilize county payments, Congress passed legislation to replace the lost timber sale revenues; this replacement entitlement from the US Treasury paid counties a declining fraction of the payments formerly made directly from federal timber sale revenue. Future reauthorization by Congress of the replacement entitlement payment is now doubtful beyond 2013.

To deal with the revenue loss, counties with federal forestlands have been forced to dramatically reduce budgets, cut county services and school programs, and seek tax increases from local property owners. Some rural Oregon counties with federal forestlands are facing insolvency. The obvious solution would be to increase federal timber harvest, so that county governments having federal forests could experience increased revenue generated from USFS and BLM timber sales.

Wood Use in Our Daily Lives

Forest Economic Sustainable Image America’s use of wood and paper has economic importance, well beyond the forest trees, environmental, or societal values of forests. No matter where you are this very moment, chances are there’s a product made with wood right within your reach. Every American uses the equivalent of one tree, 100-foot tall, every year, in their consumption of wood and paper products. Wood fiber is a practical and valued part of our way of life in America.

Perhaps it’s surprising, but wood and paper products make up 47 percent of all raw materials used in manufacturing in the United States, and that’s a good thing. Wood is renewable, beautiful and durable, and its production compared to most other materials takes significantly less energy consumption and has less impact on the environment. Plus, when Oregon trees grow they take carbon out of the air, and release oxygen into the sky, thereby helping to reduce the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and cleansing the air. Keeping Oregon’s working forests healthy and fast-growing enhances this air-cleansing effect of trees.

Forest Economic Sustainable Image

Because of its renewable and sustainable growth and harvest from Oregon forests, wood is a “green,” superior material. Oregon-grown wood comes from trees harvested, manufactured, and sold to all 50 states and many nations around the globe. Materials such as steel, concrete, glass, or petroleum-based products, which consume large amounts of energy to produce, cannot compare to the “green” qualities of wood. Furthermore, Oregon wood is an attractive appearing product sought for architectural building applications, cabinets, paneling, windows and doors. Oregon is America’s leading producer of structural softwood, softwood plywood and engineered structural wood.

What Oregon Forest Products Go to America

Forest Economic Sustainable Image Wood products make up 47% of all raw materials used in manufacturing in the United States. Nearly 100% of a harvested log can be used to make wood and other products we use every day. The following wood products are grown and made in Oregon:

*Softwood Structural Lumber: Dimensional lumber, beams, joists
*Engineered Structural Softwood: Laminated veneer lumber, glu-lam, I-joists, engineered wood
*Plywood and Paneling: Softwood & hardwood veneer or other laminated panel products
Millwork: Variety of softwood & hardwood lumber for products such as doors, windows, cabinets, furniture, siding, flooring, moldings and fencing.
Posts, Poles and Timbers: Utility poles, fence posts, pilings, treated timbers, cross-arms, and railroad ties.
Pulp and Paper Products: Packaging, printing paper, newsprint, tissue, toweling, absorbents, adhesives, fluff pulp and cellulose prod as rayon, cellophane, food additives and pharmaceuticals.
Reconstituted Wood Products: Such as particleboard, hardboard, fiberboard and heating pellets, made from wood residues.
Biomass Energy: Burning wood waste to generate electricity and heat for manufacturing.
Landscape Products:

*Oregon leads the nation in: Softwood lumber production; softwood plywood production; engineered wood product development