Forests and Oregon's economy
03.09.2017

Oregon dominates U.S. production of softwood lumber and plywood. It is also a leader in engineered wood and home to the first mill in the United States to manufacture structurally certified cross-laminated timber (CLT). In fact, Oregonians are employed in wood products and forestry jobs in each of the state’s 36 counties.

OFRI’s new County Economic Fact Sheets document the importance of forestry in each county. A State of Oregon Economic Fact Sheet summarizes the overall impact of the forestry and wood products industry on Oregon’s economy.

Forestland area in Oregon totals nearly 30 million acres, nearly half of the entire state. In the fact sheets, ownership and timber harvest percentages are given for the various landowner groups. Although federal land accounts for 60 percent of forests statewide, it’s fascinating to see how forest landownership varies across the state. In most counties (GrantLaneDouglas, etc.), the largest forest landowner is the federal government. However, private (Clatsop) and state (Tillamook) ownerships are the largest in other counties. In Wasco and Jefferson counties, tribes own the most forestland. One county (Yamhill) even has small private landowners as the largest ownership group.

Timber harvest in Oregon totaled about 3.7 billion board feet in 2015. About 63 percent of this was by large private landowners. In almost every county, the large private ownership class was responsible for the most timber harvest. However, in Deschutes and Grant counties, the federal government was the largest timber harvester. In Wasco and Jefferson counties, tribes harvested the most timber. In Tillamook County, state forestland harvest levels were a very close second to large private lands.

Forest sector employment totaled more than 61,000 jobs in 2015. This represents about 3 percent of Oregon’s total jobs. How the employment varies by county is especially interesting. Lane County had the largest number of forest sector jobs (7,421), but this accounted for only about 4.4 percent of the county’s total employment. Douglas County had the second largest number and percentage of jobs (5,530 jobs equals 13.2 percent of county employment). Grant County has the highest percentage of county employment in the forest sector (20 percent), but this represents a relatively small 580 jobs.

Forestry is important to the Oregon economy. However, the role it plays is different in each of the state’s 36 counties. Check out the new fact sheets to see where your county fits in.

For the forest,

Mike Cloughesy

Director of Forestry

 

 

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