By Jeff Bradley
Manager, Forestry & Wood Products Policy
Our country has a great resource in the forests that are owned by the
public and private sectors – all 751 million acres of them! That’s a
third of the nation, covered in trees and being used for everything
from hiking, biking, bird watching, hunting, fishing, and growing
Of that 751 million acres, more that 56% are privately owned, and the majority of the timber harvest comes from those lands - about 91%. The remainder comes from State and Municipal lands at 6%, Federal at 2%, and Tribal at 1%.
Much of the private forestland is owned by family forest owners. In an earlier post, we mentioned that there are around 10 million private forest landowners in the U.S. That’s an incredible number, and a huge number of landowners with different visions and levels of engagement in the management of their lands.
So what are AF&PA members doing to ensure sustainable management of the lands they source from? As a condition of AF&PA membership, member companies must comply with our sustainable forest management and procurement principles. These principles include encouraging family forest landowners to use Best Management Practices (BMPs) for water quality and to use qualified resource professionals and loggers that will apply principles of sustainable forest management.
By working with landowners to sustainably manage their lands and provide a market for the trees that they grow, the paper and wood products industry helps keep these private forests as forests – and provide jobs, many of which are in the rural parts of our country.