Based on a report of 2010 economic data, the $23 billion breaks
down like this: Total Illinois forest products and
forestry-related employment included 131,549 full- or part-time
jobs with an annual payroll of $8.10 billion. Local, state and
federal government also benefited, with more than $871 million
paid to state and local governments and $1.6 billion paid to the
federal government, all in the form of taxes. The total value
added, which was available for wages, profits and taxes,
amounted to over $11.4 billion.
John Gunter, who is past president of the Illinois Forestry
Association and Dean Emeritus of the College of Forest Resources
at Mississippi State University, commented: "This harvest of
Illinois timber is extremely sustainable, considering our state
grows significantly more timber than what is harvested or lost
to mortality on an annual basis. When timber is properly
harvested through the services of a professional forester, the
short-lived negative impacts are greatly minimized across the
landscape. Not to mention, timber harvesting is frequently used
by foresters and wildlife biologists to improve game- and
non-game wildlife habitat."
The economic impacts of the forest products industry in
Illinois were determined from 2010 data examined by forest
economists Ian Munn and James Henderson of Mississippi State
University College of Forest Resources. Using input-output
analysis, Henderson and Munn determined direct effects in
employment, wages, production and value added from
manufacturing; indirect effects from industry purchases of goods
and services; and the induced effect of purchases of consumer
goods and services by employees of forest products and
Results showed the significance of the industries based on
renewable and readily available wood resources in Illinois.
Timberland in Illinois accounts for 13.4 percent of the
state's total land area and covers over 4.78 million acres.
Illinois landowners sold $16.66 million worth of timber from
their woodlands in 2010, providing the raw materials necessary
for wood products such as hardwood lumber, veneer, crossties,
mine timbers, pallets, pulp and many other uses.
Munn and Henderson explained that there are six sectors in
the forest products industry: timber production and logging,
solid wood products, pulp and paper, furniture, urban forestry,
and miscellaneous forest products.
"The logging sector harvests the timber and delivers it to
mills to create wood products such as lumber, plywood, fence
posts and wood chips," Gunter said. "In 2010, over 1,190 direct,
indirect and induced jobs were related to timber harvesting,
with wages totaling $45.35 million. Their contribution to the
total economy was an estimated $122.1 million in industrial
output and $61.68 million in value added," he said.
Solid wood products are made at sawmills, plywood mills,
veneer mills, reconstituted wood product mills and other
wood-manufacturing facilities. This sector and supporting
industries generated 18,316 jobs in 2010 and paid out $917
million in wages. The value of the industrial output from these
facilities totaled $2.59 billion. The total value added exceeded
The pulp and paper sector includes pulp mills, paper mills,
paperboard mills, and manufacturers of paperboard containers and
boxes, converted paper and paperboard products, and other
related paper products.
"Pulp and paper was the largest forest products contributor
to the Illinois economy," Munn said. This sector generated over
90,000 jobs from direct employment and indirect and induced
impacts. Total wages exceeded $5.38 billion. Total industrial
output was $17.6 billion, with more than $8.35 billion of value
added by manufacturing, according to the report.
Production of wood furniture includes such products as
upholstered furniture, office furniture, household furniture,
and wood partitions and fixtures. In 2010, direct, indirect and
induced employment in wood furniture production totaled 20,267
jobs. Total wages were $1.05 billion. Industry output amounted
to $2.83 billion, with an associated $1.58 billion in value
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Munn said that urban forestry firms provide such functions as city
tree management, tree pruning, removal, arboriculture and related
services. Direct, indirect and induced employment for urban forestry
in 2010 totaled 5,214 jobs. Total wages were $208.96 million. Total
industry output was $521.53 million, with value-added impacts of
Miscellaneous forest products services, such as tree nurseries,
consulting foresters and other support activities, are critical to
the other forest product sectors, Munn said. "This smallest
forest-product sector and its associated activities accounted for
965 jobs in total," he said. Total wages paid were $38.49 million.
Total industry output for miscellaneous forest products was
estimated at $110.9 million. Value added by these services exceeded
According to Hayek, two additional facts immediately stood out
from this study.
First, Illinois woodland owners are grossly underselling their
standing timber investment to loggers and timber buyers.
"Illinois woodland owners have sold nearly $225 million worth of
standing timber since FY2003, or nearly $22.5 million annually," he
said. This number, explains Hayek, should be much, much higher.
Unfortunately, over 90 percent of Illinois woodland owners fail to
secure the professional services of a trained college forester to
assist them in the marketing and administration of their timber
"Woodland owners who involve the services of an independent
professional forester frequently earn 25 to 220 percent more revenue
and frequently leave more high-quality trees for future timber sales
when they work with a professional forester throughout the timber
sale process," Hayek said.
Second, Hayek pointed out that state Division of Forest Resources
and U of I Extension forestry staffing levels need to be
re-evaluated immediately in order to grow these forestry-based
economic impact numbers even higher.
"It scares me to think just how big this number could have been,
had adequate professional forestry staffing levels been achieved,
based on repeated recommendations from the governor's Illinois
Forestry Development Council. For example, the state of Illinois has
been without a forest products specialist for over 13 years," Hayek
Over the years, Hayek has spoken with multiple representatives
from Illinois's logging and sawmilling industry. One of the biggest
complaints Hayek hears about from those who make their livelihood in
the forest products industry is just how unfriendly Illinois is to
small-business owners in terms of taxes and the outrageously high
cost of workers' compensation insurance here in the state. According
to Hayek, those two factors combined are why many loggers and
sawmills have left Illinois for "greener forests" in Missouri and
"Sadly, Illinois has lost nearly 225 primary wood-using sawmills
since 1961," Hayek said. "Today there are fewer than 85 production
sawmills left in a state with nearly 5 million acres of forest
land," he said.
The complete report was commissioned by the Illinois Forestry
Development Council. More information is available online at
[Text from file received from the
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and