Tennessee forest industry produces nearly $22 billion annually

NASHVILLE – Gov. Bill Lee encourages residents to recognize and celebrate our forests and the renewable resources they provide as an important part of our state’s history, economy, culture, and well-being. 

“To meet our mission to protect, conserve, and enhance all forest resources for all citizens we must work with forest landowners and forest industry stakeholders to encourage active forest management,” State Forester David Arnold said. “Actively managed forests are more productive, healthy, and resilient and provide the broadest scope of forest benefits. Diverse, competitive, and sustainable forest products markets provide the best incentive for landowners to manage their forests.

Fifty-two percent (13.9 million acres) of Tennessee is forested, providing raw material to the forest products industry, as well as recreational opportunities and vital ecosystem functions. Most of the state’s forests (83 percent) are privately stewarded by an estimated 335,000 landowners owning an average size of 44 acres. Oak-hickory is the dominate forest type covering nearly 10 million acres, making Tennessee one of the top hardwood lumber producing states in the nation.

Active forest management provides a renewable resource to meet the global demand for forest products. Encouraging the use of sustainably-harvested wood products fosters growth of the forest products economy in our state. TDF offers forest landowners information to help them make informed decisions in pursuit of their forest management objectives.

The forest products sector makes essential contributions to Tennessee’s overall economic prosperity, especially in rural communities, generating $21.7 billion in goods and services annually and employing more than 85,500 Tennesseans across the state. Tennessee’s average annual sawtimber removals on timberland are estimated at 1.3 billion board feet, 84.6 percent of which comes from family forest landowners.

The Tennessee forest products industry needs workers to fill a variety of jobs. With ForestryWorks, TDF partnered with the Tennessee Forestry Association to provide K-12 and post-secondary programs to encourage students to consider a career in the industry. Learn more at www.forestryworks.com/tennessee.

Tennessee’s working forests also play an essential role in providing a wide array of ecosystem services, including providing for clean air, clean water, wildlife habitat and biodiversity.

TDF protects and promotes the responsible use of forest resources in Tennessee. Focus areas include assisting landowners with a variety of services, providing quality tree seedlings, supporting forest health programs, collecting forest inventory data, assisting forest industries, and fighting wildland fires.

Visit www.tn.gov/agriculture/forests for more information.