Things Every Oregonian Should Know About Our Forest Industry

398px-An_old_growth_douglas_fir_towers_in_an_old_growth_forestAre you ready for this? Oregon timber is a HUGE part of our economy and has been from the day anyone knew the word “Oregon”. The first sawmill was built in 1827 followed by our first shipment of timber to China in 1833. Oregon is the 9th largest state in the U.S., with 63 million acres of land. Do you know much of that massive acreage is covered by forest land? I’ll let you read the rest of this before I make you guess.

In Portland, we are used to hearing about the technology and sportswear sectors bringing in all the big bucks for the state – but the truth is timber and agriculture pull in their fair share as well. The Oregon forest industry is a prized model for conservation and protection of forests, while also supplying the world with much needed resources for building and manufacturing. Surprised? Well, here are some other Oregon forest facts that might leave you a bit bewildered.

Oregon Forest Industry Facts To Make You Think

  1. We are the tops! Oregon is the top lumber producer in the U.S., allotting for 18% of total softwood lumber production in the United States.
  2. We make a lot of stuff (I always knew we were crafty.)+ Forest products constitute 47% of all raw materials used for manufacturing in the United States.
  3. A little goes a long way. One log can be used almost entirely – up to 100% – to make lumber or other products.
  4. We made history once. Oregon made history by being the first state to adopt a law governing forest practices to aid in the protection of forest resources including water, fish, wildlife, soil and air in 1971.
  5. Forests are serious business. Now, Oregon forestland owners must adhere to some of the strictest environmental standards in the world through compliance with the Oregon Forest Practices Act which has grown and expanded since creation in the 70s.
  6. Wood keeps people working. The state’s forest industry employs roughly 57,000 Oregonians with a payroll of $2.1 billion each year.
  7. The Federal Government isn’t the one collecting. About 60% of Oregon’s forestland is owned by the federal government, but that land only makes up 12% of Oregon’s total timber harvest.
  8. Oregon business owners harvest the most timber. Approximately 35% of Oregon’s forests are privately owned and account for 76% of Oregon’s timber harvest. Remember our post on Oregon tree farms?

Now you ready to answer my question from earlier? In case you need a reminder it was: Oregon is the 9th largest state in the U.S., with 63 million acres of land. Do you know much of that massive acreage is covered by forest land?

Half of the state is covered in forest land. That’s right, 30 million acres of tall, leafy friends.

USDAForeststudyWant to hear something even more stunning? In the recorded history of Oregon forest land, there has been basically no net loss – we’ve always had 30 million acres and always will thanks to our sustainable forest practices.

Lots of tree species make up our rich forests, but in 2012 the USDA completed an extensive study of Oregon Forests where they outlined just what trees were being harvested and how many of them over time. See table 4*.

ArborPro Tree Experts are Proud of Oregon Forest Industry Practices

As certified arborists we are proud to be part of an industry that works to keep Oregon forests thriving. While our industry friends take on forest land management, we’ll keep the trees near us just as healthy. Call us whenever you need urban tree assistance in Portland or the surrounding areas. We are experts when it comes to sick trees, safe limb removal, pruning, and more.

*Table 4 courtesy of Oregon’s Forest Products Industry and Timber Harvest, 2008: Industry Trends and Impacts of the Great Recession Through 2010 by Charles B. Gale, Charles E. Keegan III, Erik C. Berg, Jean Daniels, Glenn A. Christensen, Colin B. Sorenson, Todd A. Morgan, and Paul Polzin

Other Sources: Oregon Forest Industries Council, Oregon Public Broadcasting, and

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