Information About the Forest Products Industry

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  • 27 percent more timber is grown than harvested from our managed forests every year.
  • Young, growing, vibrant forests are the largest carbon sink on earth: CO2 absorption by U.S. forests has increased by 25 percent since 1990.

Fact #1: We’re growing more wood every day.

North American forests are a source of beauty, recreation and natural, renewable wood products. Forests fully cover one-third of the United States’ and one-half of Canada’s land mass and, through the efforts of the forest products industry, our forestland continues to expand.

American landowners plant more than two billion trees every year. In addition, millions of trees seed naturally. The forest products industry, which comprises about 15 percent of forestland ownership, is responsible for 41 percent of replanted forest acreage. That works out to more than one billion trees a year, or about three million trees planted every day. Canada’s replanting record shows a fourfold increase in the number of trees planted between 1975 and 1990.

Fact #2: New U.S. Forest Service data reveals positive gains.

The most recent USDA Forest Service data confirms that United States forestland is roughly as abundant today as it was 100 years ago. The Forest Service’s Resource Planning Act 2007 (RPA data) reveals both state and regional increases in forestland across the country. Among the key findings in the report are:

  • There are 750 million acres of forestland in the U.S. today, about the same as in 1907.
  • 11 states had increases in forestland of over 25 percent over the last century, and nine had increases of over 30 percent.
  • Overall, forestland in the northern U.S. has increased by almost 30 percent. For more information, visit the USDA Forest Service website.

Fact #3: Life Cycle Assessment shows wood is the greenest building product.

A 2004 Consortium for Research on Renewable Industrial Materials (CORRIM) study gave scientific validation to the strength of wood as a green building product. Using sophisticated life cycle assessment tools, CORRIM’s scientists measured building products’ environmental footprint from cradle to grave.

CORRIM found that wood was better for the environment than steel or concrete when accounting for embodied energy, global warming potential, air and water emissions and solid waste production. For the complete details of the report, visit

Fact #4: Manufacturing wood is energy efficient.

Processing wood into usable products is highly energy efficient. Wood products make up 47 percent of all industrial raw materials manufactured in the United States, yet consume only 4 percent of the energy needed to manufacture all industrial raw materials, according to a 1987 study.

Compared to wood, it takes five times more energy to produce the same amount of cement, 14 times more for glass, 24 times more for steel and 40 times more for aluminum.

Waste utilization and bioenergy go hand in hand. Over one half of the energy needed for wood production comes from tree bark, sawdust and other natural by-products. The U.S. and Canadian wood products industries are leaders in bioenergy use – the U.S. wood products industry alone accounts for 60 percent of the nation’s bioenergy production and use!

Fact #5: Wood is carbon neutral.

Derived entirely from solar energy, our wood fiber resource is a keystone in reducing global warming. Our abundant forests mitigate climate change by absorbing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in trees, soil and biomass.

Vibrant growing trees absorb more carbon dioxide than older mature trees, and North American forest landowners work to support this efficient carbon storing process by planting two billion trees every year. For every ton of wood grown, a young forest produces 1.07 tons of oxygen and absorbs 1.47 tons of carbon dioxide.

In fact, wood’s net carbon emissions are below zero. The CO2 absorbed by growing forests and stored in trees and wood products offsets the energy required to harvest, process, transport and maintain those products over time. And quality, durable products made from wood continue to store the carbon for generations to come.