Madison – If there was ever any question that Wisconsin is a major player in the forest products industry, a recent study by the American Forest and Paper Association puts that question to rest. According to the association’s June report Wisconsin is number one among states in forestry jobs employing 56,533 workers, and in economic value of wood and paper products shipped at a combined total of $16,201,241,000.

In recent years, all of Wisconsin’s state and county owned forests and much of the privately owned forests have been third-party certified as being sustainably managed according to widely accepted forestry practices and standards. National and worldwide demand for certified forest products is growing steadily and manufactures are eager to find sources of certified wood for their products.

"Wisconsin's national leadership in forest certification has helped propel us to the nation’s top spot as employers and producers of forest products,” said Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. “Certification has without doubt helped the state's forest industry weather the recession and compete in the global marketplace. The forest industry has been and continues to be one of Wisconsin’s great economic engines and this report verifies that fact. I look forward to further conversations with industry leaders on how we can maintain this momentum by building stronger relationships and putting the tools in place for even more growth in forest-based jobs and products.”

The Badger state holds a comfortable lead over the second place state, Pennsylvania, in forest jobs, besting that state’s forest employment by more than 3,300 jobs and has a $2.2 billion lead in shipped forest products.

“Wisconsin and the forest industry have been linked since the days of settlement when Wisconsin forests supplied lumber that built the great cities of the upper Midwest,” said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. “The paper industry also grew along with Wisconsin and today, over 100 years later, we remain a leader in forest based jobs and forest products. Productive, well managed forests also provide abundant wildlife populations, clean air, clean water and a variety of recreational opportunities,”

“Wisconsin has aggressively sought certification for its forests,” adds Stepp. “State, county and private forest owners enrolled in the Managed Forest Law program have practiced sustainable forest management for decades. Gaining certification was relatively easy and is a great testament to our long term vision for Wisconsin’s forests and the jobs they support.”

SOURCE: Dept. of Natural Resources

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