The Forest industry includes loggers, foresters, paper mills, sawmills, cabinet makers, and many others.
Why is the forest industry so critical to the health and well-being of Pennsylvania’s forests?
Most private landowners do not have the ability to determine the needs of their forests or harvest trees on their own to the extent that is needed to ensure a healthy and productive forest. So initially a forester or other resources professional becomes involved.
Often one of the tools needed to manage a forest is a harvest. A logger is utilized to harvest dead and dying trees, suppressed trees, over-mature trees, and any other trees that have been selected to accomplish the management goals. However, without a market, there would be no place to send the trees that are harvested. Thus the critical need to promote the health and vigor of Pennsylvania’s sawmills, paper mills, cabinet makers, etc. Without a market for wood products, there would be no income for the landowner and therefore, less incentive to practice proper forest management.
Of course, the economic impact of the forest industry is huge in Pennsylvania. The wood products manufacturing industry employed over 80,000 citizens in 2006. The wages and salaries generated reached over $4.7 billion. This income generated taxes for the commonwealth and local communities. The economic impact is huge when conditions are favorable.
Therefore, it is vital that Pennsylvania maintains a thriving forest industry so that we can continue to properly manage our forest land in a sustainable manner. PFA is committed to supporting the industry in its efforts to remain a viable industry.
Recent Events in Forest Industry
Pennsylvania’s forest industry is in the process of recovering from the US Great Recession which began in 2008. In the years immediately following 2008, consumer demand for wood products of all kinds declined by more than half. The effects of the recession altered the face of the industry in PA; after 2006 the forest industry lost 20,000 well-paying jobs in Pennsylvania. During 2013, the PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry conducted a Timber Product Output Survey, gathering information for the 2012 production year from primary “breakdown” sawmills and wood processors, whole-tree chippers, pulp and paper mills, panelboard mills, and log buyers exporting wood outside the U.S. This survey was the first completed since the mid-1990s.
PFA’s Efforts to promote Forest Industry
PFA supports the need to ensure that the forest industry recovers from the recent economic recession. To this end, it is important that the landowner and industry are not burdened with unnecessary or unjustified regulations that may be imposed by the state or local governments. Unfortunately, proposals for new regulations continue to rise much too frequently. PFA has testified in the past and will continue to comment on legislation that will negatively impact our forest landowners’ ability to properly manage their forests.
We encourage our members to work with us on committees to evaluate the content of any proposals that will impact the ability to manage our forests. We want to promote the good work that industry does in our forest and better educate the public. This is done through magazines, educational field trips, and letters and testimony to legislators or government entities. We are always looking to gain passionate members in these efforts.
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