Forests cover nearly one-half of Kentucky and provide a wide range of both economic and non-economic benefits to the Commonwealth. The primary economic contributor is derived from the utilization of timber and wood resources. Analysis of Kentucky’s forest and wood industries in 2015 indicated an estimated direct economic impact of $9.1 billion (up 9 percent from 2014). These industries employed over 28,000 individuals. Total economic impacts in 2015 were estimated above $14 billion for the first time ($14.6 billion) with a total employment of 62,445. This increase in both direct and total impacts has been on-going since 2012 with a $2.7 billion increase over this period as the wood industry has continued to recover from the recent recession. The economic impact was generated from forests located in all 120 counties of the Commonwealth providing resources harvested by over 1,200 logging firms and processed at 713 facilities located in 109 counties. These industries include sawmills, pulp and paper mills, and a wide variety of secondary producers such as cabinet, barrel, and flooring manufacturers. The 2015 sawlog production estimate of 762 million board feet indicates that Kentucky remains one of the leading producers of hardwood forest products in the U.S. Analysis shows that each acre of woodland harvested in 2015 was responsible for producing $23,965 in direct revenues and a total economic contribution of $39,743. Delivered log prices remained stable in 2015 while increased prices were paid for stave logs used for barrel production continuing a recent trend. This report highlights the importance of the economic contribution of the forestry sector to both rural and urban Kentucky in 2015.

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