Northern Forest Futures Project

Socioeconomic Benefits

[image:] Wood shavings

Maintenance and Enhancement of Socioeconomic Benefits

Forests are an important source of timber and nontimber products, recreation, ecological services, and employment in the Northern United States. Timber products are primarily used for building homes; manufacturing flooring, furniture, and cabinets; and making paper and paperboard. Residues from forest harvesting operations and wood processing are used for bioenergy, charcoal, and landscaping mulch. The employment opportunities in forestry range from research and development to logging and manufacturing. Maple syrup is the most prominent nontimber forest product in the North in terms of annual quantity produced and market value. The quantity and value of nontimber products are dwarfed by the wood products and paper industries, but gathering nontimber products has considerable cultural and economic importance for local communities. The dollar value of forest-based recreation is hard to quantify, but the vast majority of people who participate is a strong indicator of its importance to society. In addition, forest-based recreation generates demand for travel and equipment and creates employment for recreation managers and service providers.


Key Findings

  • Overall employment in forestry is declining, but productivity (total value of shipments per employee) is increasing.
  • Capital investments by government in both production and research are negatively affected by the recent economic recession that followed the 2007 U.S. financial crisis.
  • Real-dollar wages in forestry have been relatively constant from 2001 to 2010.
  • Under scenarios that assume a constant rate of harvesting without added demands for bioenergy feedstocks, the average annual projected removal of growing stock on timberland from 2010 to 2060 would be 1.3 percent, about half of the projected rate of forest growth.
  • Under scenarios that assume greater biomass consumption for energy, the average annual projected removals of growing stock on timberland from 2010 to 2060 would range from 1.7 to 2.7 percent of growing stock.
  • Production of lumber and wood panels is expected to increase under a scenario that assumes large gains in urbanization but would decrease under scenarios that assume smaller gains in urbanization.
  • Paper and paperboard production is projected to be variable in the next decade and is expected to decrease before 2060 under scenarios that assume
    a constant rate of harvesting without added demand for bioenergy feedstocks.
  • The low rates of wood recovered from construction and demolition waste can be attributed to high cost and low returns, but up to 70 percent of wood waste from construction and demolition could potentially be reused.
  • The wholesale value of wild-harvested nontimber products is estimated at $682 million for the entire United States.
  • Nearly all commercial U.S. maple syrup production is from the North; total annual production in 2013 was about 3.5 million gallons and was valued at $132 million.
  • The total volume of wood and paper products from northern forests is about 40 percent of the quantity consumed by residents in this region; that percentage is expected to decrease under all scenarios by 2060.
  • Projected population increases from 2008 to 2060 in the North are expected to cause per capita Federal and State park land to decrease by 19 percent and per capita non-Federal forest land to decrease by 26 percent.
  • Under a scenario that assumes large gains in urbanization, increases in participation (compared to current participation) are projected for horseback riding on trails, downhill skiing, motor boating, and visiting interpretative sites; decreases are expected for hunting, back-country skiing, and snowmobiling.

FromĀ Future forests of the northern United States, NRS-GTR-151, 2015.

Maps and Figures

[graph:] Projected (A) lumber and wood panels and (B) paper and paperboard production in the North, 2010 to 2060, based on the U.S. Forest Products Module (Ince et al. 2011) applied with three global greenhouse gas storylines.
Projected (A) lumber and wood panels and (B) paper and paperboard production in the North, 2010 to 2060
[graph:] - Projected per capita wood growing-stock removals on timberland in the North, 2010 to 2060 under seven scenarios
Projected per capita wood growing-stock removals on timberland in the North, 2010 to 2060 under seven scenarios
[graph:] - Projected roundwood equivalent volumes of wood products
consumed and imported in the North, 2010 to 2060, under three
scenarios
Projected roundwood equivalent volumes of wood products consumed and imported in the North, 2010 to 2060, under three scenarios

For additional detail, see Criterion 6: Maintenance and enhancement of long-term multiple socioeconomic benefits to meet the needs of societies in the Future forests of the northern United States.