What forests mean to North America
Forest-based and forest-related employment is one measure of the social and economic importance of forests. In 2006 in the US, forest product industries employed about 1.2 million people in the wood and paper products, wood furniture, forestry and logging businesses. In Ontario, Canada, about 200,000 people are directly and indirectly employed by forestry.1
In 2002 in the US, these forest product sectors contributed roughly $70 billion in revenue to the economy.2 In 2003 in Canada, forestry generated $19 billion (CDN) in business for Ontario with exports of about $8.59 billion, mostly to US markets.3
North American Timberland Stable
Unlike some regions in the world where deforestation is happening at a rapid pace, the US has actually maintained its forestland for the past 100 years. According to the USDA Forest Service, since 1900, forest area in the US has remained statistically within 745 million acres +/-5% with the lowest point in 1920 of 735 million acres. US forest area in 2000 was about 749 million acres.4
Currently forests cover about 749 million acres of the US, or about 33% of all land.