The Everyday Use of Our Working Forests

Timber harvested in Washington's private forests generates virtually no solid waste. When a tree is harvested, every part is used. Logs become the building materials for our homes and the furniture that we rest in. Sawdust and woodchips are used in the pulp and paper making process and for the containers in which we buy our food. Bark and branches become fuel for energy and landscaping for our yards and communities. There are over 5,000 different products including resins, glues, cosmetics and food produced from trees. Any part of the tree left over after harvest provides habitat and eventually degrades, enriching the soil for the next generation of forest.

  • On average, each American uses three pounds of wood products per day.

  • A major component of wood is cellulose, which can be used to make a wide range of products, including rayon fabric, football helmets, pharmaceuticals, and even toothpaste and shampoo.

  • Some foods, including ketchup and ice cream, are made using a thickener derived from trees.

Forest Products Industry Has National & Regional Impact

The forest products industry in Washington is the second largest in the nation behind Oregon, with about 10% of the nation's total private establishments and employment. It accounts for over 13% of total U.S. softwood lumber production and about 7% of the total U.S. plywood production. In total, the U.S. produces about two-thirds of the lumber it consumes, with the remaining mainly imported from Canada.

The forest products industry is the second largest manufacturing sector in the state after transportation (primarily aircraft), representing more than 14% of total manufacturing in Washington. A recent study conducted by the University of Washington has projected private forestlands, which currently produce 66% of the timber harvest in the state, will be able to produce even more trees in the future. Based on predicted market conditions, industrial timber supplies should climb steadily and increase by more than 20% by 2090.

How Technology Will Play an Increasingly Important Role