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National Forest Facts:

  • over 2.7 billion trees are planted annually in the United States 7
  • there are 737 million acres of forests in the U.S. 1
  • more trees are growing in the U.S. today than 70 years ago 7
  • the U.S. still has 70% of the forests that were here in 1600 1
  • the timberlands of the U.S. now contain 28% more standing timber volume than in 1952 1
  • there are 82% more hardwoods today than 40 years ago 1
  • in the U.S., most hardwoods grow east of the Mississippi River 9
  • U.S. citizens are growing twice as much hardwood sawtimber volume as is being consumed 7
  • forest growth rates have exceeded harvest rates since the 1940's 7
  • 57 percent of the forestland in the country is owned by private individuals 7
  • there are 9.9 million forest owners in the country
  • annually, the average American uses the equivalent of 1 tree, 100 feet tall and 16 inches in diameter for paper, lumber, and other wood products 2
  • each year, six new trees are planted for each tree that is harvested 2
  • forest products companies rank among the top 10 employers in 40 out of 50 states with an annual payroll of $44 billion 2,3
  • about 53,000 forest products companies employ 1.7 million people in logging, sawmills, furniture and cabinet plants, and paper mills 3
  • insects, tree disease, wind storms, and wildfire consume almost as much wood each year as people use
  • national parks account for 88 million acres in the U.S.; they do not allow timber harvesting or hunting 9
  • national parks were established to preserve natural features, exceptional beauty and areas of historical interest; they include battlefields, lakeshores, memorials, monuments, preserves, recreation areas, scenic trails and wild and scenic rivers 9
  • national forests were established by law " furnish a continuous supply of timber for the use and necessities of citizens of the United States..."; they pay 25% of gross receipts from timber sales directly to states for county roads and schools - hundreds of millions of dollars each year 9

Kentucky Forest Facts:

  • over 50 percent of the state is forested (12.7 million acres) 7
  • hardwood trees account for 92 percent of the total volume of growing stock 7
  • oak/hickory is the dominant forest type, accounting for 77 percent of the state's timberland 7
  • 92 percent of the state's forest land is privately owned by more than 400,000 small land owners 7
  • 94 percent of all private landowners hold 100 acres or less of timberland 7
  • Kentucky has more forested acres today than it did in 1950 8
  • National Forest is the second largest ownership of timberland, occupying 5 percent of Kentucky's timberland 7
  • timber growth to timber harvest ratio is 2.1 to 1 7
  • over 30,000 Kentuckians are employed in the wood products business 8
  • the wood products business ranks third in manufacturing employment in the state 8
  • forest industry contributes $4.5 billion annually to the state's economy 8
  • Kentucky annually ranks in the top five hardwood lumber producers in the United States 7
  • Kentucky's forests provide: 7
    - wood and paper products
    - wildlife habitat
    - erosion control
    - water quality
    - recreational opportunities
    - aesthetics
    - employment opportunities
    - economic impact


1 Forest Resources of the United States, 1992, USDA Forest Service, General Technical Report, 1993.

2 American Forest & Paper Association, 1992.

3 U.S. Department of Labor, Wage & Employment Data, ES-202, 1991.

4 The Principle Laws Relating to Forest Service Activities, Agric. Hdbk. 453, Revised 9/83.

5 Quick Facts About America's Forests, American Forest & Paper Association, 1992.

6 Wood Use: Competitiveness and Technology [Washington, DC: U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, OTA-ITE-210, August 1983], page 166.

7 Kentucky Forests: Our Renewable Natural Resource, Brochure, Kentucky Division of Forestry, Kentucky Tree Farm Committee & Kentucky Forest Industries Association

8 Kentucky Forest Industries Association

9 Forest Resource Fact Book, third edition, National Hardwood Lumber Association

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