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 $1.37 billion.
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
"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 added.
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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 $316.87 million.
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