2007 Annual Report

21st Century Vision for Sustainable Forestry

Working Forests:
A 21st Century Vision

Forestry that provides economic, social, and environmental benefits for all of us

As the Washington Forest Protection Association embarks on its second century, working forests (those forests actively managed for economic goods and services) will continue to be an important part of the economic, environmental and social fabric of our state.

Working forests provide many of the environmental and social benefits that our citizens treasure. Without working forests, providing these benefits would fall to taxpayers, and the pressure to convert forests to other economic uses would increase. Thus, a key to sustaining the benefits we all seek from Washington’s forests is to retain the economic vitality of the forestry industry.

Forestry is a cornerstone industry in Washington

Forestry contributes to Washington’s economy in significant ways:

  • The forestry products industry provides more than 45,000 direct jobs as the second largest manufacturing employer in the state.
  • Forestry creates an additional 120,000 jobs in other sectors of Washington’s economy.
  • Forestry generated $18 billion in gross business income, and paid more than $2 billion in wages in 2006.
  • Forestry is the number one agricultural industry, providing family-wage jobs, and economic stability in rural natural resource dependent communities.

Washington’s foresters have become more efficient, and production has increased

Washington remains the number two producer of softwood lumber in the nation, a position it has held since the 1930s. Despite declining harvests on state and federal lands, the forest products industry has become more efficient in converting raw wood materials to final products in order to meet market demand.

Since 1991 lumber production has increased by 58%, playing an evermore significant role in the state economy. More than 70% of the timber was supplied from privately owned forests.

Photo of logging operations

Our forests are productive and provide a variety of economic and social benefits

Washington State has the most productive forestland in the country, with our rich soils, plentiful rainfall and temperate climate. Working forests provide a wide array of goods and services that enhance the quality of life and well-being of our society. Whether a forest is managed primarily to provide wood products, recreational opportunities, or wildlife habitat depends on the ownership and management objectives for a particular forests.

About 64% or 14 million acres of forestland is managed by federal, state, tribal and county governments and 36% or 8 million acres are privately owned.

Washington Forestland Ownership

Nearly 36% of the forestland in Washington is privately owned (blue) and over 64% is managed by the government (green).

Forest Ownership Pie Chart

Living and working in forests is a way of life in Washington

Our forests dominate our landscape. In fact, 22 million acres, or about half of Washington’s total land area, is covered with great forests of fir, pine and hemlock, which are green all year long. This is why in the late 1800’s Washington was nicknamed “The Evergreen State.” Altogether, Washington's forests are home to about 25 native tree species, ranging from pure coniferous forests to multi-species mixtures, including diverse deciduous forests.

Maintaining working forests on the landscape will continue to be the primary mission of the Washington Forest Protection Association, as we continue to be an important part of our state’s landscape – providing jobs, economic stability, and protecting the air, water, and wildlife habitat that is so important to all of us.