Forests play a pivotal role in Kentucky’s economy and in the lives of the citizens of our state. Forests are the single most dominant land type, covering nearly one-half of the state, providing a significant range of both economic and non-economic benefits to the Commonwealth. The majority of the economic contribution is derived from the harvesting of timber and processing of the wood resource. Analysis of Kentucky’s forest and wood industries in 2016 indicated an estimated direct economic contribution of $9 billion (down one percent from 2015). These industries employed over 27,700 individuals. Total economic contributions in 2016 were estimated to be $14.4 billion with a total employment of 60,225. The 2016 forest industry contributions were mixed compared to the previous year with the biggest declines coming from paper converters and the pulp and paper sub-sector, the latter can be traced to the closing of the Verso mill in western Kentucky. The economic contribution was generated from timber resources in all 120 counties of the Commonwealth, harvested by over 1,200 logging firms and processed at 722 facilities located in 110 counties. These industries include sawmills, pulp and paper mills, and a wide variety of secondary producers such as cabinet, barrel, and flooring manufacturers. The 2016 sawlog production estimate of 746 million board feet secures Kentucky’s place as one of the leading producers of hardwood forest products in the U.S. Analysis shows that each acre of woodland harvested in 2016 was responsible for producing a direct contribution of $21,763. Delivered log prices remained relatively stable in 2016 with strong prices for stave logs used for barrel production which continues a recent trend. This report highlights the economic contribution of the Kentucky forestry sector in both rural and urban Kentucky in 2016.

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