Forestry and Forest Products

Forestry and Forest Products


The forestry and forest products industry is focused on wood and its uses. Wood is used to build houses, furniture, flooring, shipping containers, and many other products. Forest products also include wood pulp, which is used in making paper. Wood used to make commercial products is referred to as lumber. Among the steps that occur to turn a tree into a commercial product are harvesting and removing trees, converting the raw material into finished products, and marketing and distributing these products.

Most of the nation's lumber production comes from commercial forests, and of that, 91 percent of wood harvested comes from privately owned forests. Forest products account for about 4 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). The American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA) reports that member companies produce about 85 percent of pulp, paper, paper-based packaging, and tissue products produced in the United States. Forestry and the forest products industry employ more than 950,000 workers in a wide range of jobs, ranking in the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 45 states.

Professions in the forestry and forest products industry include foresters and forestry technicians who plant and tend trees; forest scientists who work to protect forests from fire, insects, and diseases, and manage forests so only selected types and numbers of trees are moved; loggers or timber fallers who harvest trees; graders who sort the felled trees according to quality, size, and type of wood; and manufacturing workers who convert raw lumber into finished wood products for consumers to buy and use.

Many lumber companies maintain tree nurseries to replant the timberlands and need workers to fill related jobs. This industry also employs workers to market and sell wood products, including those with business management and marketing skills, wholesalers who buy lumber in large quantities and then resell it to retail lumber yards or other large users o...