Monday, July 23 2018
By Michael D. White, author and freelance writer
No pun intended, the story of America’s timber and logging industry goes deep with roots that weave all the way back to the early 17th Century when the settlers of the early colonies in present-day New England and Virginia built their beleaguered settlements from timber harvested from the vast forest that loomed around them.
Over the past four centuries, amidst economic ups and downs, depressions and recessions, the labor-intensive work of felling trees and fashioning them into the lumber and wood products used across the nation and around the world has grown into a multi-faceted business generating billions of dollars annually from much of the country’s 751 million acres of public- and privately-owned forests.
Currently, paper and wood products exports account for about 15 percent of the industry’s annual total sales. In 2017, the industry’s global exports totaled $30.9 billion, of which $21.4 billion were exports of pulp, paper and packaging materials, while some $9.5 billion were exports of wood products.