What Is the Forestry Industry?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

The forestry industry is a collective of companies and organizations concerned with forest management and use of forestry resources. This includes logging firms, manufacturers who use raw timber products, and companies concerned with the certification of environmentally friendly products and supplies. Internationally, the forestry industry includes a variety of small and large companies operating in a number of countries with forest resources.

Felled trees.
Felled trees.

One aspect of this industry involves harvesting timber. This includes identifying new sources of timber and securing them through contracts for lease or purchase, as well as managing existing resources. Firms send out surveyors to estimate yields, followed by logging crews to harvest trees, and then rely on transportation of timber to get forestry products from their origins to processing facilities. The forestry industry may also have environmental concerns to address, such as the need to avoid disturbing endangered species in the region.

An area of boreal forest that has been logged.
An area of boreal forest that has been logged.

Forest management, not just harvesting, is also part of the industry. Most firms with an active role in forest management plant trees as well as harvest them. They also perform research on forest health and management to learn more about how to care for the environment, with the goal of conserving resources and making sure forests will be available to future generations. Forest management may include experimental forests, where firms explore new methods of raising and handling trees as well as ongoing research at active logging sites.

Timber processors who turn timber into wood, pulp into paper, and work with other raw materials are also part of the forestry industry. Some firms may own harvesters, processors, and related companies, while others may focus on a specific step on the supply chain, such as transporting timber or making paper. Organizations with an interest in promoting environmental certifications for timber products may play a role in supply-chain monitoring for companies who want to be able to certify their products to appeal to consumers.

Most nations have regulations in place to cover the forestry industry. These set out requirements like ordering environmental impact reports before logging, logging sustainably, and setting aside natural resources for public enjoyment. Departments of forestry can administer logging leases on government land, as well as monitor logging sites, review applications for timber harvests, and make sure that the health and safety of industry workers is protected. This work may also include accepting input from the public and incorporating it into new regulations to protect natural resources and to balance sometimes conflicting uses, like the desire to be able to hike in pristine forests and the need to harvest trees to meet consumer demand for timber products.

The some aspects of forest industry are concerned with the maintenance of hiking trails.
The some aspects of forest industry are concerned with the maintenance of hiking trails.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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