Maintenance and enhancement of forest resources to meet the needs of societies require the rationalization of competing uses in ways that reflect human values. It is notable that values pertain for both direct (commodity, employment, income) and indirect (education, scientific knowledge, spiritual) uses, and that resources that have little or diminishing value will inevitably be converted to other uses. Therefore, understanding the diversity of values held for forests, as well as the shifts in priorities of their use, is critical to developing an overall measure of sustainable forest management.


A. Production and Consumption

Production and consumption indicators that describe the level at which products and services are valued by society over time indirectly convey a sense of societal values. In contrast, economic benefits can be measured directly through the production of value-added products and trends in per capita consumption.

There are a number of uncertainties in measuring production and consumption trends. For example, the duration of an increase, or downturn, sufficient to produce a Atrend@ is variable. Linear regression of data trends versus time illustrates this point. If a positive coefficient is shown with respect to time, the trends could be regarded as increasing; however, the same finding might result from a very erratic or unstable trend that was, on average, increasing. Moreover, a production or consumption trend may be increasing in absolute terms, but decreasing in per capita terms.

With the increase of human populations worldwide, it will be a greater challenge to maintain production and consumption at current levels on a per capita basis than to maintain them on a volume-produced basis. The latter course would be accompanied by declining resources for some groups of people. Relative to time, it is important to be clear whether production has the potential to be maintained or increased in the future or whether it has actually been maintained at certain levels in the past, up to the present, and into the future). An example of this dichotomy can be found in US Forest Service timber harvests, wherein harvests may be managed on a more sustainable basis today even though annual harvest have declined by roughly 75 percent in the past ten years.

To evaluate the economic sustainability of a trend in harvest of forest products, one could evaluate the impact on ecosystem function. This requires information on tree species and sizes to be harvested; expected intensity of growth within the harvest area; and, the species and sizes of trees remaining after harvest. Secondly, the use of composite and/or of substitute materials can also affect the ability to sustain production and consumption of wood and non-wood products. This is especially true when a wide range of species, sizes of wood and recycled wood/paper are considered for production. However, recycling does have limited applications.

Production and consumption indicators 29 to 34 examine both wood and non-wood products. Wood products are defined according to major product categories in the SITC 3-digit groupings (FAO 1994), Revision 3. Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes for value-added data correspond with the SITC groupings, and are given in Table 7-1, with conversions from British units to metric units based on international conversion factors listed in the Forest Products Yearbook series of FAO in 1994. All values are in 1987 U.S. dollars, adjusted for inflation using the implicit GDP price deflator in the 1987 Economic Report of the President.

Currently, the U.S. does not maintain a comprehensive listing of non-wood forest products that reflects a national consensus on definitions. One major study describes marketing opportunities for specialty non-wood products by categories of aromatics, berries, fruits, cones, seeds, and forest botanicals. Uses for these categories of products are: flavorings, medicinals, pharmaceuticals, greenery, transplants, florals, honey, mushrooms, nuts, syrup, and weaving and dyeing materials (Thomas and Schumann 1993). This list is used as a starting point for these indicators.

For purposes of this analysis, the following definitions are applied to each indicator in the set of production and consumption indicators:

Value-added is defined as the value of shipments minus the cost of materials, supplies, containers, fuel, purchased electricity and contract work. This measure of manufacturing activity is used to compare the relative economic importance.

Supply is equal to the volume of production of a product plus imports from other countries. Consumption is derived from the balance of production, minus exports plus imports from international trade.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the total value of all goods and services, or outputs, produced in the United States. The value of output produced by American-owned entities overseas are not included in GDP calculations.

The value of wood production reflects primary production only in each product category.

Recovered paper utilization rate is the amount of recovered paper consumed at paper and board mills, divided by the new supply of paper and board. The recovery rate is total paper recovered divided by new paper supply and board. The recovery rate is the higher of the two, because it includes U.S. exports of waste paper and paperboard. The recovered paper utilization rate is the preferred indicator, because it measures the country's willingness to use recycled material.

INDICATOR 29: Value and volume of wood and wood products production, including value-added through downstream processing.

A long-term trend of value and volume of wood and non-wood forest products indicates that the forest is providing benefits to society, perhaps predisposing societal behaviour that supports sustainable management of the forest. Increased value reflected in the price for wood products could encourage more forest investment. However, there is a point at which increasing value and quantities may indicate over-exploitation.

Production volumes for this indicator are taken from Forest Service reports. The value of production is calculated in two ways. Where data are available, the value of production equals average price times volume of production. However, the value of production is highly dependent on the selection of average price for the product category. Value of shipments is reported in the Census of Manufacturers and is used in lieu of volume times average price when a consistent, reliable price series is not available. Data are from consistent sources of Forest Service reports, U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Census surveys, several industry data sources and international data from the U. N. Food and Agriculture Organization. The Forest Service data for volume of production are consistent with other sources, such as industry reports. Value-added data from the Census of Manufacturers are quite reliable because of standarized statistical procedures that have been in place since 1890, and cover at least 98 percent of the value of shipments for all manufacturers in the SIC category.

In terms of scale, many sources have Statewide and county level data for specific products. Reporting procedures vary, however, among sources; therefore, only national data are reported here by major product category.

Data Summary

Two- to three-fold increases in production of all major products indicate consistent yet balanced industry activities throughout the forest sector from 1960 to 1992. Total roundwood production peaked in 1988 at approximately 530 million cubic meters, before falling off to more than 514 million cubic meters by 1992. Real values of roundwood production were fairly stable throughout the first 25 years, rising sharply in 1991 to about $26 billion dollars (in 1987 dollars). Value- added as a proportion of total value of production improved slightly over the 30-year period.


Trends in sawn-wood production (Fig. 7-2) showed changes similar to those of roundwood production, increasing from about 77 million cubic meters in 1960 to more than 100 million cubic meters in 1992. Peak sawn-wood production occurred also in the late 1980's. The value-added from sawn-wood production, as a proportion of total value, actually decreased in real terms over the 30-year period, as did the proportion for wood-based panels. The value-added data for wood-based panels may not reflect the maturity of the oriented-strand board (OSB) industry in the late 1980's and early 1990's, which may account for this diverging trend. Wood-based panels more than tripled in volume of output between 1960 and 1992, showing the strongest growth in production.

America=s pulp and paper sector has shown very

strong growth in volume production. Value of production showed a downturn in the last decade

or two, possibly correlated with excess pulping capacity during a period of rapid increases in paper recycling, or perhaps due to gains in production efficiency, such as through capital economies of scale associated with larger and newer facilities (Figure 7-2). If the instability in the data are correct, it may be an indicator of concern, suggesting that society may be placing inconsistent value on these categories of forest products. On the other hand, lower costs at times of consistently higher output suggest that society is producing more of these products more efficiently and using them more widely.


Currently, available data indicates that the processing sectors of wood products in the United States have shown strong growth and steadily increasing values of production, reflecting increased quality and value to the consumer. This suggest an increasingly positive societal value for these products. Wood processing industries, by steadily increasing production of wood products, have at least partially met society=s increasing needs. Per capita needs for various products, however, may not be met to the same degree if product prices are increasing. Increased investment by the forest industry in response to an increase in value may correct this in the long term, within limits.

Economic data alone do not indicate the extent to which the wood products industries are able to sustain levels of product benefits for society, especially considering population growth. The data show only that current levels of production are sustainable in relation to the supply of raw material as indicated by data for criteria 1-5. Data have not been measured in a way that allows us to determine whether other factor inputs into production, such as labor, energy, and capital, are adequate to sustain the use of forest products.

We also cannot determine any direct measure of the industries= ability to sustain current uses of forest products based on value-added. A change in value-added indicates economic value created by the industry using the resource. Value-added measures are useful primarily to compare the relative economic importance of manufacturing among industries and geographic regions. A declining value-added, or a value-added increasing at a slower rate than in other industries, may indicate that the industry=s size cannot be maintained.

Volume of wood commodities production can only be an indicator of movement away from production sustainability when considered in light of our changing ability to increase forest growth--while sustaining ecosystem functions--and our changing ability to provide more product benefits per unit of roundwood input.

The increasing value of wood products reflects the value individual consumers and businesses, through purchases, place on the products. Increasing unit prices as indicators of increasing economic scarcity may be only partially due to increasing physical scarcity. Although increasing physical scarcity may also indicate a move away from production sustainability, it is important to note that restrictions on some public timber harvests are a created scarity that in turn can drive up the commodity price. Increasing unit prices may also be caused by society=s placing greater value on the products. Price must be examined with consumption to determine if the value of the product has actually increased.

INDICATOR 30: Value and quantities of production of non-wood products.


As with Indicator 29, a long-term trend of stable to increasing value and quantities of non-wood forest products may indicate that the forest is providing benefits to society and that society is therefore more likely to desire to manage the forest on a sustainable basis. There is a point at which increasing value and quantities may indicate over exploitation, however.

Only limited data are available to quantify this indicator. Data for non-wood forest products are available in some State reports and summaries of agriculture and forestry statistics. Several sources were used to compile a rough estimate of some quantities and values of non-wood forest products. The Census of Agriculture database has extensive information on farm production of several products that fall into the non-wood forest products category; yet, cultivated production cannot be distinguished from production resulting from direct extraction from the forest. In many cases, Census data do not provide the value of production, only the quantities. Data is also available from the US Forest Service and should be considered for use in future data summaries.

Although a number of local and regional marketing studies have been prepared by private consulting firms; there are no known national statistics on all non-wood forest products. Therefore, these data are incomplete estimates and are not considered highly reliable. These limitations prevent identification of significant trends in production of non-wood products.

Data Summary

Considering the incomplete nature of the data, the total quantity and value of non-wood products in the U.S. may be more than $1 billion. The bar chart (Figure 7-3) describes the value of a very small sample of some domestically produced non-wood products. Products such as mushrooms had a value of close to $650 million in 1987. The increased demand for wild mushrooms from forests of the Pacific Northwest in the last decade suggests how production of a single non-wood product can add significant value to the forest resource for a region. Similar values placed on other non-wood products are expected to show steadily increasing trends in the near future. Accordingly, the value of non-wood products in the U.S. is probably grossly underestimated, given such data samples.


Due to the unavailability of data for many non-wood products, the full value to society of non-wood commodity production cannot be determined at this time. Moreover, the lack of comprehensive historical data prevents evaluation of trends in production and value. These gaps are particularly critical when comparing commodity production to the diversity of growing demands for forest resources.

INDICATOR 31: Supply and consumption of wood and wood-products, including consumption per capita.

Society has a long-demonstrated need for timber-related products that are used daily and affect the quality of life for everyone. A long-term trend of stable to increasing domestic supply and consumption of wood and wood products may be an indicator that these services of the forest can be sustained. A more comprehensive understanding requires consideration of the relationship of imports on domestic consumption, and comparison of U.S. per capita consumption to per capita consumption in other countries. Moreover, there is a point at which increasing supply and consumption may indicate over exploitation.

There are a variety of periodic sources, both private and public, that provide data on forest products supply and consumption. Each year the U.S. supplies data, by Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) code, to international publications of forest products statistics prepared by the United Nations. The data presented here originate from annual Forest Service reports of forest production and consumption statistics, and are aggregated into major forest products categories of: roundwood, sawn-wood, wood-based panels, wood pulp, and paper and paperboard.

The primary data for this indicator is a series of Forest Service publications that have been maintained since the early 1950's. These publications were interrupted in the late 1980's, and more recent data are not yet available. To maintain consistency when comparing data from other production and consumption indicators we have presented only the period from 1960-1992.

Data Summary


Forest products supply and consumption have generally increased over the 33-year period beginning in 1960 (Figure 7-4). Earlier data, going back to 1900, would reveal that there was a notable decline in solid wood product output and consumption over the first half of this century, while pulp, paper, and paperboard production and consumption have increased consistently since 1900. This is in line with the increasing volume of production shown previously and, again, provides proof of society=s increasing use of pulp and paper commodities. Per capita consumption of pulp, paper, and paperboard has increased by more than 60 percent since 1960, which is a substantially greater increase in consumption than for solid wood (lumber and wood panels combined).


Society=s increasing dependence on wood products is evidenced by stable or steadily increasing per capita consumption rates for all wood products. However, currently available data do not allow us to determine to what extent the supply of wood products has been met by domestic resources, as opposed to the supplementary supply America imports from other countries. This distinction is critical when evaluating domestic production sustainability implications, as well as global impacts. In some cases, the increased supply of wood products is being met more and more by imports, e.g., of softwood lumber, reflecting reductions in public timber production and insufficient investment by the private sector. U.S. reliance on outside sources of supply are not reflected in this indicator; therefore, a complete assessment of the sustainability of our domestic resources is lacking.

INDICATOR 32: Value of wood and non-wood commodity production as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

A trend of stable or increasing commodity production as a percent of GDP indicates that the wood products industry is being sustained and competitive with other industries in the economy. The higher the percent, the more society may value the forest resource and be willing to manage it on a sustainable basis. There is a point, however, where a high percent may indicate over exploitation and over dependence on the forest industry.

Data for this indicator are not available for non-wood products. Available wood products data have been taken directly from the value of wood (Indicator 29) and from the GDP values listed in the 1987 Economic Report of the President. Data for wood products are considered reliable and are presented from 1960 to 1992.


Data Summary

The value of primary wood products= contribution to our national income has fluctuated slightly, with a declining trend overall (Figure 7-5). Peak contributions occurred in the late 1970's at 3.7 percent (in 1987 dollars), falling to just over 2 percent by 1992. It should be recognized that these data reflect only primary product value and not the total contribution to national income by the wood- products sector. [See discussion in the interpretation section below.] Because data are not available, the contribution of non-wood forest commodity production to national income was not estimated.

The data allow us to determine that the contribution of primary wood commodity production to national income has remained significant over at least the last 30 years, although it has declined slightly in recent years. It is important to note that only primary production is considered here. This suggests that the secondary and additional levels of production in U.S. manufacturing, which use primary wood products as inputs and end-use value added, provide even greater contributions to national income than reflected herein.

The trend in value of primary wood products relative to GDP indicates the value consumers place on primary wood products relative to the value placed on all production. Even if the percentage of value from primary wood products in GDP is decreasing, society may be over-exploiting the resource. Conversely, a trend of increase indicates an increasing relative value, e.g., shifts in timber management (increased growth) that may not necessarily indicate over-exploitation. Comparison of these indices with those of Criteria 1 through 5 is necessary to answer these questions.

It should be recognized that these data do not adequately measure the total contribution of wood products to national income. This is particularly critical for the pulp and paper commodities sectors, where the value of such secondary products contributes to education, transfer and storage of knowledge, safe and efficient product shipment and packaging, human health, and safety, among others.

With regard to sustainable production, the levels of sustainable economic activity have not been determined.. Whether the trend in contributions of wood products to national income will continue to decline, or will increase in the future, is also not apparent from this indicator. We also cannot determine whether trends in the values of production, discussed in Indicator #29, are sustainable, in particular with regard to changing resource supplies and technological change.

INDICATOR 33: Degree of recycling of forest products.

A trend of increasing recycling indicates that society values the resource. Forests may be more likely to be managed sustainably because recycling eases the pressure for timber harvest.

Data are available only for paper and paperboard, and are considered authoritative; these data have been reported for the U.S. as a whole. End products have international markets, and there are well established markets for waste paper and paperboard. There has been a substantial increase in the recycling of solid wood products, such as pallets, but complete data are not available.


Data Summary

Using data gathered as early as 1950 and before reveals a significant increase in recycling in recent years, due primarily to curb-side pickup and other programs intended to keep paper out of landfills. Over the past 3 years, billions of dollars have been spent on expanding recycling capacity, and it is likely that the recovered paper utilization rate will continue to increase (Figure 7-6).


The data show that the consumer's willingness to use recycled paper and paperboard products is increasing substantially. The data presented are likely conservative estimates of the total level of wood materials recycling potential in the United States.

The extent and level of consumer use of recycled materials is only clear for thosed wood products for which data is maintained. Additional data will be needed to project the level of sustainable recovery of recycled materials in the industry. More complete data are also needed to determine the rates of recycling for all wood products.

INDICATOR 34: Supply and consumption/use of non-wood products.

A trend of stable to increasing domestic supply and consumption of non-wood products would indicate that the forest is supplying benefits to society and that society is likely to manage it on a sustainable basis. However, data are not available to indicate either supply, or consumption and use, of non-wood products in any meaningful way (see discussion for Indicator 29).

B. Recreation and Tourism

Management of natural resources for recreation and tourism implies the active expenditure of funds, labor, and materials, as well as the designation of specifically identified sites and areas to accommodate recreation users. Availability may imply permitted access to forest land for recreation and/or active designation of funds, labor, materials, and sites to accommodate users. As a first attempt at specifying an indicator for forest land managed for general recreation, availability will be the operational concept. For each ownership or government jurisdictional category, availability assumptions and measurement must be treated separately.

As a first approximation, the measure of non-industrial, Federal and State lands, area of land available for recreation will be weighted by the proportion of the ecoregional division that is forested under a particular ownership category, based on the 1992 Natural Resources Inventory (NRI) by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Corporations owning lands for production of timber, pulpwood, minerals, livestock and/or recreation/tourism manage only 5 percent of the rural, private land area in the U.S. Typically, most of these lands are available for recreational uses, but usually they are available only to persons or groups who have signed or otherwise agreed to a lease for use rights. A very small portion of corporate ownerships have been designated or are managed primarily for recreation, with the exception of lands used as resorts and areas managed for hunting. Data covering these lands are not included in this report.

Individuals, families, and various forms of non-corporate partnerships own approximately

95 percent of the rural, private land area in the U.S. The availability of such lands for outdoor recreation may be reserved for the exclusive use of owner and friends, leased to individuals or groups, or open to the general public. Very few of these areas are managed exclusively or explicitly for outdoor recreation.

National forests, national parks and monuments, wildlife refuges, Bureau of Land Management lands, Corps of Engineers projects, Tribal lands, military lands, and a variety of other

Federal ownerships comprise America=s Federal estate. Except for military lands (bases for the most part), Federal lands are available for general outdoor recreation. Some portions of the Federal estate are managed specifically for public recreational uses, e.g., campgrounds, wild and scenic rivers, recreation trails, wilderness, national recreation areas, and parks. Because most Federal lands (except military facilities) are considered to be available for general recreation and tourism, total Federal forested area can be used to approximate this category of available recreation area. As a first approximation, the estimated county-level area of Federal lands available for recreation will be weighted by the proportion of each county that is forested.

State parks, State forests, State reservoirs, and a variety of lesser State properties comprise the country=s State lands. With few exceptions, e.g., tree nurseries of negligible total area, all are available for recreational uses. Local governments hold only a small proportion of America=s land area. Municipal and county parks provide close-to-home opportunities for Americans across all social strata. As a first approximation, the area of State lands available for public recreations will be weighted by the proportion of each county that is forested.

Recreational facilities managed by government and by private or other quasi-public entities include: recreational vehicle (RV) campgrounds, campsites, hunting and fishing preserves, picnic grounds, parks, downhill and cross-country skiing centers/resorts/areas, natural resource tourist attractions, hiking trails, visitor centers, wildlife viewing sites, greenway trails, picnicking sites, and rail-trail miles.

The Forest Service 1989 RPA Assessment lists the following activities under outdoor recreation: Developed and primitive camping, day hiking and walking, whitewater rafting, sailing and other boating, sightseeing and pleasure driving of highway motor vehicles, motor boating and waterskiing, bicycling and mountain biking, nature study and photography, picnicking, family gathering, pool swimming, outdoor swimming, coldwater fishing, warm freshwater fishing, big game hunting, wildlife observation, visiting prehistorical sites, relaxing, and Ano main activities.@

The level of recreation and tourism use is measured as Amillions of the U.S. population aged

16 years or older who reported participating in outdoor recreation activities, and the average and median number of days they participated in such activities over the previous 12 months. Levels were estimated for the nine Census Divisions of the U.S., and then aggregated for a national estimate.

INDICATOR 35: Area and percent of forest land managed for general recreation and tourism, in relation to the total area of forest land.

Data Summary

The total Federally-owned acreage available for public recreation in the United States is over 640.2 million acres. The total forested State land area available for recreation is over 7.1 million acres, or 24 percent of all State lands (Table 7-2). These data clearly show that a significant proportion (>30 percent) of recreation on State lands is dependent on forest land areas.

Private lands are by far the largest of the three ownership categories, totaling approximately 1.26 billion acres. Of these, approximately 95 percent is private, non-industrial lands, and approximately five percent is private industrial.

Because we do not know what percent of these private lands available for recreation is forested, the areas are weighted with the forest percentage used in above. The survey shows that only 176.5 million acres (14 percent) of the private non-industrial lands are available for recreation; most private lands are closed. Of these available lands, only an estimated 84.5 million acres are forested.

By taking the weighted totals of forest land from each of the three ownership categories, Federal, State, and private, adding Alaska (and subtracting Alaska data from the other three), the total acres of forested lands available for general recreation and tourism is calculated. This estimate represents total forest land in the U.S. available for recreation, and it serves as the best available approximation for Indicator 35.


Outdoor recreation and tourism are becoming increasingly important aspects of forest lands in America and around the world. This indicator is intended to help determine if forests are being managed for long-term sustainability. A trend of stable to increasing area managed for general recreation and tourism may indicate that society recognizes non-commodity values of the forest, and may be more likely to manage it on a sustainable basis. In the United States, available data show that the overall trend in forest land available for recreation is generally downward--with government lands about stable, and private land access down significantly.

Analysis for this indicator illustrates that much rural, non-developed recreation and tourism takes place in natural environments that include meadows, grasslands, national and State parks.

Available data do not allow determination of actual acres of forest land managed for recreation. Therefore, land available for recreation is used, weighted by total forest area. The assumption that the proportion of forested area is the same for all three main ownership categories has been made. This is a questionable assumption that may, if false, greatly skew the data. Currently, there are no data for private industrial lands. The question of duplication of data on State lands makes quantification of this category uncertain.

INDICATOR 36: Number and type of facilities available for general recreation and tourism in relation to population and forest area.

This indicator is intended to help determine if the number of facilities available for general recreation and tourism is decreasing or increasing, with respect to the total area of forest land and the population; thereby to determine if forests are being managed for long-term sustainability or not. A trend towards increasing numbers of facilities per capita or per unit area may indicate that society recognizes the non-commodity values of the forest, is willing to make the investments to make the forest enjoyable, and is maybe more likely to manage the forest on a sustainable basis. It can also be an indicator of recreational jobs.

Data Summary

Forest-based recreation and tourism facilities range from high-service types, such as resorts, to low-service types, such as trail heads. An inventory of almost all such facilities, across the spectrum--from high-service development, to low-service access--has been completed for all counties in the nation, and across public and private ownerships, except for municipal and county government holdings. It seems appropriate, given the climate of funding for planning and

Table 7-3. Index of outdoor recreation facilities available, present, in relation to population and forest area, by Ecoregion.








Number of Counties



Mean % of Forest Area

Mean %

of All 26 Facilities present

Mean %

of Facilities Weighted by Forest


Mean 1995 Population

per county



Facility Index

Relative Facility Index (highest =100)

















































































U.S. Total








Note: Data not available for Alaska


assessing outdoor recreation, to build an index that employs a more limited spectrum of indicator facility types which are more likely to be available in future years from ongoing databases. The broad categories of facility types are campgrounds, visitor centers, scenic roadways, ski areas, and trails.

The Facility Index was constructed on a per capita basis and weighted by the proportion of total forested area in the county where the facility is located. The Facility Index denotes the mean number of facilities in forested areas per 100,000 people in each ecoregion (calculated at the county-level) (Table 7-3). The Relative Facility Index ranks the ecoregions by facility index. The percent of total possible facilities (26=100 percent) was determined for each county and ecoregion. For each ecoregion, the mean percentage of facilities weighted by forest was divided by population to derive the Facility Index.


Data have shown that certain areas of the country have more facilities available on forest land per capita for recreation and tourism; these can be re-measured as often as the sources produce new data. These indices are sensitive to various recreational opportunities, changes in forest land and population--this is a baseline for future studies.

Data is not available for the number of facilities or the number of services that the facilities provide (e.g., beds, ski lift capacity, etc.). These data can be acquired with much time and effort; however, a comprehensive inventory is not yet available. The indices provided herein are likely a reliable measure for this indicator, even though increases or decreases in facilities are identified instead of the actual numbers of each type of facility available.

INDICATOR 37: Number of days of recreation and tourism participation in relation to population and forest area.

As a first approximation, the following estimates are reported as millions of persons 16 years and older, who participated in activities one or more times between January 1994 and January 1995:

Dispersed nature-based outdoor activities

Nature-based developed site activities

Nature appreciation and study activities

Water-based activities

Snow and ice-based activities

These data are available from the Census Division, and can be weighted by percentage of total area that is forested in each Division to show days of participation in relation to forest area. However, this analysis still would not give the correct number of days spent in activities on forest lands, since it is difficult for people interviewed to remember how many times they participated in each activity, or which activities were spent in forested areas. The NSRE is the only national database available to use in approximating this indicator.

Data Summary

Data for this indicator shows that the U.S. population devotes the greatest number of days participating in order of importance: walking, bird-watching, visiting a beach or waterside, swimming in a pool, wildlife viewing, biking, sightseeing, studying nature near water, swimming in non-pools, and family gatherings (Table 7-4). The average number of days of activity are not shown, only the final data for total days of participation.

Over 50 percent of the U.S. population is participating in Awalking@ and Asightseeing.@ These are not the fastest growing activities; however, the activities with a greater than 50 percent increase between 1983 and 1995 were those done on forest lands, and include: hiking, bird watching, downhill skiing, camping in a primitive area, backpacking, and attending an outdoor concert or play.

Table 7.4. National estimated recreation days of participation by activity (by persons 16+ in age).



Percent of U.S. pop.


(in millions)

Days in


(in millions)

Fitness Activities: Biking, walking




Viewing Activities: Cultural sites, wildlife, beach/water viewing




Snow and Ice Activities: Skiing, snowmobiling




Camping (overall)
















Swimming Activities




Outdoor Adventure Activities: Hiking, backpacking, mtn climbing, caving, horseback riding, etc.




Social Activities: Picknicking,

family gatherings




Source: The National Survey on Recreation and the Environment (NSRE), 1994. Partially analyzed and fully described in Cordell, H.K., B.L. McDonald, B. Lewis, M. Miles, J. Martin, and J. Bason, 1996 ?United States of America,@ Chapter 13 In: World Leisure Participation: Free Time in the Global Village. Cushman, G., A.J. Veal, and J. Zuzanek, Eds., pp. 215-235.



Data show that the U.S. population values a wide range of outdoor recreational activities in and around forested areas. This indicator also demonstrates that the public is using forests for outdoor recreational uses at an increased rate of 50 percent or more over the previous twelve years. Currently there are no data that can distinguish those days of participation that occurred in forests.

C. Investment in the Forest Sector

INDICATOR 38: Value of investment, including investment in forest growing, forest health and management, planted forests, wood processing, recreation and tourism.

This indicator measures resources dedicated to future forest production, providing direct insights into the physical sustainability of resource management. Measures of investment were developed for three categories: (1) forests, (2) wood processing, and (3) recreation and tourism. Each category is discussed separately below:

Forest investment. Direct investment in forest establishment and regeneration is measured. In addition, we measure changes in the total stock of forests to estimate net investment. This measures the contribution of direct investment and growth, net of activities that reduce forest stocks such as land use conversions and timber harvests.

(a) Investment in forest establishment is tracked and reported by the Forest Service in annual tree planting reports. The agency reports the area of tree planting in the U.S. between 1930 and 1995.

(b) Net investment. The net value of investment is indicated by change in the total stock of forests. One crude approximation of net investment is simply the change in the quantity of forest inventories over time. However, volumetric measures of inventory do not capture the effects that changes in forest composition and location have on forest productivity and value. To capture these effects, i.e., changes in forest quality as well as quantity, a value-weighted index of total forest inventory was constructed for each of the four large regions (North, South, Pacific Coast, and Rocky Mountains as described in the Forest Service RPA Assessment) and for the U.S. as a whole. We call this a forest capital index.

The value index of forest inventory weights the contribution of hardwood and softwood, sawtimber and non-sawtimber components, of inventory using their respective stumpage prices (sawlog prices are applied to sawtimber, and pulpwood prices are applied to non-sawtimber). Components are aggregated using a standard Divisia (Tornqvist) index approach to measuring capital stocks of different types and vintages (for details, see Wear 1997 ).

Price and volume data are required for each component of the inventory for each year evaluated. Volume data were taken from Powell et al. 1993. Prices were taken from Haynes et al. 1995. Data are not maintained on an annual basis but are available for the RPA benchmark years. The Forest Service reports volumes of growing stock and forest capital indices by region and for the U.S. as a whole for the years 1952, 1962, 1977, 1987, and 1992. Increases in the forest capital index indicate that net investment has been positive, i.e., that the effects of direct investment and growth have exceeded the effects of forest land conversions and timber harvesting. If this value is stable over time, then investment is maintaining the stock of forests--although composition could be changing. A declining value index would indicate net disinvestment in the forest sector.

Investment in wood processing sectors is measured as gross investment in equipment and structures for the lumber and wood products industry (Standard Industry Code 24), and for the paper and allied products industry (SIC 26). Annual data for 1960-1994 were taken from the ADetailed Investment by Industry@ data base maintained by the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, and reported in real terms.

Investments in recreation and tourism are available for expenditures by Government agencies for improvements, construction, and maintenance of recreation facilities, and these are reported here. The agency reports (1) total expenditures by Government for natural resource infrastructure for 1975-1992, (2) expenditures by the National Park Service for improvement, maintenance, and construction of facilities, and (3) expenditures by the Forest Service for maintenance and construction of facilities.

Data Summary

Forest Investment. The area of forest planting has grown substantially since the 1930's, with peaks occurring in conjunction with special Federal programs (Table 7-5). Total U.S. softwood inventories have been relatively stable over this 40-year period. However, stability masks strong decreases in softwood inventories in the Pacific Coast Region and countervailing increases in the East, and especially in the South. Hardwood inventories have expanded strongly in the North, South, and for the U.S. as a whole. Total inventory has grown accordingly, reflecting a strong shift towards hardwood composition (Table 7-6).

The forest capital index, which accounts for changes in both the quantity and quality of the inventory, shows value growth between 1952 and 1977, but a leveling off between 1977 and 1992. Strong declines in forest capital in the Pacific Coast region have been largely offset by capital accumulation in the South and the North. However, forest capital also declined slightly between 1977 and 1992.

Wood Processing. Since 1960, expenditures for equipment and structures have trended upward in the Paper and Allied Products industry. In this sector, expenditures in the 1990's are roughly 3 to 4 times their quantity in the 1960's (Table 7-7). Expenditures in Lumber and Wood Products trended upward between 1960 and the late 1970's, though at a much more moderate rate. Since the 1970's, expenditures have leveled off at values observed early in that decade. These measures of gross investment, while not providing a complete picture of investment, indicate an expanding paper sector and a relatively stable lumber and wood products sector in the U.S., consistent with production patterns.

Recreation and tourism. Government spending for natural resource infrastructure fell by about 33 percent between the late 1970's and the early 1990's (Table 7-8). The Federal Government accounted for all of this decline, with spending by State and local governments remaining essentially constant over this period. Total expenditures for infrastructure were $9 to 10 billion/year (1987=100), during the late 1970's. They were about $6.3 billion/year for 1990-1992. Although this index gives a general indication of total expenditures for natural resource infrastructure, it is not specifically linked to the recreation component. Public expenditures related to ski resorts and eco-tourism, among others, would provide a more complete understanding of investments for recreation.

Spending for improvements, maintenance, and construction of facilities in national parks was relatively stable between 1975 and 1991 (about $250 million/year). It increased to nearly

$350 million/year from 1992-1994 (Table 7-9).

Investment in the infrastructure of the National Forests (Table 7-10) has also changed over the last 15 years. Spending for maintenance of facilities has increased slightly, while spending for facility construction has increased nearly three-fold. As a result, total spending on facilities increased from $47 million in 1981 to $96 million in 1994 (1989=100). Spending on trails has also increased substantially, from $24 million in 1981 to $53 million in 1994. Spending for roads, in contrast, fell from $357 to $140 million between 1981 and 1994.


Taken together, these data indicate that investment efforts in the forest sector have been and remain strong in the U.S. (evidenced by a planting rate of about 2.5 million acres per year). However, net infrastructure investment measures indicate that investment over the last 15-20 years has largely been replacement investment. As a result, the value of forest inventories has generally leveled off and is neither expanding nor contracting.

These measures of gross investment, while not a complete picture of investment, indicate an expanding paper sector and a relatively stable lumber and wood products sector in the United States--consistent with production patterns.

While total government expenditures for natural resource infrastructure has declined over the recent past, important recreation components (i.e., for National Parks and National Forests) have increased. While far from a complete picture of investment in recreation and tourism, these trends indicate continued, perhaps increasing, commitment of resources to provide forest-based recreation in the United States.

INDICATOR 39: Level of expenditure on research and development, and education.

This indicator measures how society is investing in the generation of new knowledge and technology related to the function and management of forest systems. Increased productivity of forest goods and services has been a key aim underpining the maintenance of long-term multiple benefits.

Data were compiled on the funding of research by the US Forest Service and at public forestry schools in the United States. Data sources were CSREES and US Forest Service reports. Additional data for private investment in forestry research and for forest-related research in other University departments outside of forestry schools (e.g., botany, biology, and economics departments, etc.) are needed. Moreover, tabular information that follows pertains to all forest related research, not just research aimed specifically at social and economic questions.

Data Summary

The total of funding for forestry research at universities increased by approximately 20 percent in constant dollars between 1978 and 1994 from $80 million (1987=100) to $128 million between 1978 and 1994 (Table 7-11). Only about 40 percent of this funding comes from Federal sources.

Between 1978 and 1996 appropriated funding for Forest Service research averaged $136.4 million (real, 1987=100) per year (Table 7-12). On average, extramural funding added another $15 million. Appropriated funding for Forest Service research is characterized by three distinct phases: (1) decline between 1978 and 1984 at an average annual rate of $4.3 million per year, (2) increase between 1984 and 1994 at a rate of $3.3 million per year, and (3) decline again between 1994 and 1996, at a rate of $8.9 million per year. The current level of funding, in constant dollars, is significantly less than funding in 1978.

If appropriated Forest Service Research funding of social and economic research is evaluated, one finds these areas to comprise, historically, a smaller percentage of allocation within the Research budget. For example, economics research in constant 1984 dollars was funded at $6.67 million in 1984 (or 4 percent of the 1984 FS Research appropriation) as compared to $7.2 million in 1994 (or 3.7 percent of the 1994 appropriation). Recreation research, in constant 1984 dollars, was funded at $2.9 million in 1984 (or 2 percent of the 1984 appropriation) and at $4.4 million in 1994 (or 2.3 percent of the 1994 appropriation). These data demonstrates a modest level of investment in the areas of social and economic research that has not changed over time.

INDICATOR 40: Extension and use of new and improved technology.

This indicator measures investment in new technologies as major sources of productivity growth in forestry and forest industries.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Division of Productivity Research, Office of Productivity and Technology calculates productivity indices for the lumber and wood products industry (Standard Industrial Code 24) and the paper and allied products industry (SIC 26). Total factor productivity indices measure the contribution of technological change.

Total factor productivity indices are difficult to develop for timber production, e.g., because ambiguity regarding the intended use of forest resources and changes in environmental factors also influence productivity. Timber productivity depends on a variety of factors, most importantly the application of new timber management technologies and biological technologies, such as genetic improvements in the quality and productivity of trees. One study (Wear 1994) provides estimates of total factor productivity for industrial forests in the South.

Data Summary

Productivity growth in the lumber and wood products industry (Table 7-13) was nonexistent in the 1970's, grew fairly steadily throughout the 1980's, and has leveled off since the late 1980's, raising concern about the adequacy of investment in new technologies in the industry. This recent downturn may be due to the significant decline in forest products research in both the public and private sectors. Productivity growth in paper and allied products was sluggish between 1970 and 1992. When compared with companies operating in non-wood-based markets, private firms= investments in forestry and forest products research are often less, both in absolute magnitude and in proportion to various economic measures, especially in terms of per-scientist investment rates as a percent of sales and profits.

The total factor productivity index for industry land in the South indicates a moderate growth in productivity between 1962 and 1985. Productivity grew at an average compound rate of about 0.5 percent per year but was level between the mid-1970's and 1985. These findings, based on an economic model of productivity, are very similar to the results of a biophysical analysis of productivity growth


While modest, increases in total factor productivity indicate that forest productivity has increased on industry lands in the South. However, this growth reflects the effects of technological change, e.g., advances in tree improvement and forest management research, not of changes in other relevant factors such as the environment. If, for example, environmental conditions had changed in a way that reduced the productivity, then total factor productivity measures would be biased downward.

INDICATOR 41: Rates of return on investment.

Examining rates of return on investment provides a means of comparing forestry investment returns with other sectors of the economy.

Estimating rates of return requires measures of total revenues from, as well as measures of the resources dedicated to forest production. Resources dedicated to timber production can be estimated by summing up the asset values of all forests within a region. The rental method of calculating asset values requires estimates of the quantity and asset prices of forests of various types. The preferred method for valuing forest capital is to use estimates of harvest age, anticipated revenues, and the value of subsequent rotations to calculate rents for forests of different types. However, data required for this approach are available only for the South. An alternative approach, the inventory method, uses stumpage prices and inventory volumes to provide a rough estimate of forest asset value. This method is applied to the four major regions of the U.S. For both methods, it is important to note that rotations are closely linked with market forces and impact productivity and diversity, which eventually influence the rate of return.

(a) Inventory Method. Asset values were calculated by multiplying forest inventory volumes by stumpage prices for four components of the inventory (hardwood sawtimber and non-sawtimber, and softwood sawtimber and non-sawtimber). Measuring the revenue derived from forests required detailed estimates of the timber produced and its stumpage prices. Because stumpage prices are the value of delivered logs less relevant harvesting and hauling costs, these values define net revenues to forest owners. A measure of the rate of return to forest production was then estimated as the ratio of net revenue to asset value. These estimates were made for individual regions and for the U.S. as a whole.

Price and volume data are required for each component of the inventory by region and year. Volume data were taken from Powell et al. (1993). Prices were taken from Haynes et al. (1995). Data were not available on an annual basis, but were available for the RPA benchmark years. Forest asset values, timber revenues, and rates of return by region and for the U.S. as a whole for the years 1962, 1977, 1987, and are reported. The quantities of timber products by species group and region for benchmark years were taken from various Forest Service reports. Values for sawlogs, veneer, pulpwood, fuelwood, and miscellaneous products were tracked. Sawtimber prices were used to value sawlogs and veneer. Pulpwood prices were applied to all other products.

(b) Rental Method. Forest asset values can be calculated using rental values that account for differences in forest type and age. This approach requires data on timberland by age class (rather than timber volumes used in the inventory method), and rental values derived from a management simulation model. This method accounts for the vintage of the forest inventory and, therefore, anticipated revenues can be accounted for in the calculation of asset values. Asset values are developed in this fashion for the South. Net revenues are those described under the inventory method, and the implied rate of return is calculated as the ratio of net revenue to asset value.

The rate of return index provides a rough approximation of returns to investment, to the extent that the value of standing timber represents accumulated investment in timber growing. It provides a useful index for making comparison between regions and time, but it may be limited for making comparisons with other sectors of the economy.


Data Summary

Rates of return (Table 7-14) show higher rates in the eastern States compared to the western regions. Two factors likely contribute to this difference. One is that eastern forests are largely in private ownership, while a large share of western forests are on public lands. A higher financial rate of return is anticipated on private lands. Additionally, a larger share of forests in the West may be inaccessible from an economic perspective, thereby overstating asset values and lowering the rates of return.

Rates of return have increased over time in the South, North, and Rocky Mountains, indicating increased utilization of forest assets. Rates of return increased in the Pacific region from 1962 to 1986, but then fell between 1986 and 1991. This is coincident with decreased timber harvesting from public lands effected by the northern spotted owl. The rate of return for the entire country followed a similar pattern. Across regions, the rate of return averages about 2 percent, and reaches no higher than about 4 percent. This is a fairly moderate rate of production and indicates that forest assets in the U.S. are not being over-exploited from a timber production perspective.

Rates of return for the South calculated using the rental price method are somewhat higher, ranging from 4.02 percent in 1976 to 5.84 percent in 1991. These higher rates are likely explained by allowing for capital gains from real price increases in forest products over time. Nevertheless, these rates of return also fail to indicate over exploitation of timber resources in the U.S.

D. Cultural, Social, and Spiritual Needs and Values

While our society is changing and becoming much more diverse in ethnic makeup and cultural backgrounds, mass media and proliferating electronic information sources, as well as homogenized retailing across the country, continue to illustrate similarities in the values and needs of our social and ethnic strata, rather than the differences. It therefore seems reasonable to assume that indexing protected lands and associated human artifacts can provide a measure of the cultural, social, and spiritual needs and values associated with forests and other natural resources. Although cultural values are maintained to some degree across a variety of ownerships, National protected areas are used to establish a beginning point for baseline data. Such data are available from:

Wilderness Areas

National Monuments in Rural Counties

National Historic Sites

National Recreation Areas

National Parks

National Wildlife Refuges

National Wild and Scenic Rivers and Scenic Byways

National Recreation, Scenic and Historic Trails

Area and number in these designated land classifications--at the national level--will be weighted by the percentage of total forested area where the protected resources are found.

INDICATOR 42: Area and percent of forest land managed, in relation to the total area of forest land, to protect the range of cultural, social, and spiritual needs and values.

Data were collected at the State level only, because no data are available at the county or ecoregion level. State data for national recreation areas (NRA=s) is also available. These data are divided into Census Divisions, and State acres are summed for each division, then weighted by the amount of forest in each State, to obtain the number of NRA acres that are forested (using the percentage for the State). Acres available in each wilderness area, similarly weighted by the percent of forested area per State, has been calculated to achieve a total for each Census Division and a U.S. Total.

Data Summary

Protected areas are described by two variables -- acres and miles, and each was weighted, i.e., total acres weighted by forest, and total miles weighted by forest (Tables 7-15 and 7-16). The total area of forest land in the United States has stabilized, and is likely to remain at approximately the current level into the foreseeable future. At the same time, the number and area of protected sites have been increasing. There is a physical limit to how much area can be converted to protected status.

Table 7-15. Total acres of National Recreation Areas (NRA), National Wilderness Preservation System lands (NWPS), National Historic Sites, National Parks, National Monuments and National Wildlife Refuges, by Census Division, weighted by percent forest area.


Census Division









National Historic




National Monuments

National Wildlife Refuges


Total acres

of Forest




New England








Middle Atlantic








South Atlantic








East South Central








West South Central








East North Central








West North Central



























U.S. Total









The 9,397-mile and 40,097,873-acre totals provide a baseline data set for area of forest land available to protect the range of cultural, social, and spiritual needs and values. Of the listed protected areas, some include forest land; although some cultural, social, and spiritual needs and values are independent of forest land. Some areas are set aside for reasons other than protection of cultural, social, and spiritual values; but, nonetheless, some needs and values are coincidentally protected. We assume that these protected areas contribute to or are a result of the public=s cultural, social, and spiritual needs and values.

Cultural, social, and spiritual needs and values in this context have not been adequately defined. Therefore, no data has been collected to directly measure this indicator. Before collecting data, it will be necessary to agree on definitions and methodology for measurement.

Table 7-16. Total miles of Scenic Byways, Wild and Scenic Rivers (WSR) and National Recreation Trails (NRT), by Census Division, weighted by percentage of Forest Area.



Census Division




WSR miles


NRT miles


Total Miles


New England





Middle Atlantic





South Atlantic





East South Central





West South Central





East North Central





West North Central
















U.S. Total





Census Division

New England Division: ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, CT

Middle Atlantic Division: NY, NJ, PA

South Atlantic Division: DE, MD, DC, VA, WV, NC, SC, GA, FL

East South Central Division: KY, TN, AL, MS

West South Central Division: AR, LA, OK, TX

East North Central Division: OH, IN, IL, MI, WI

West North Central Division: MN, IA, MO, ND, SD, NE, KS

Mountain Division: MT, ID, WY, CO, NM, AZ, UT, NV

Pacific Division: WA, OR, CA, AK, HI



INDICATOR 43: Non-consumptive forest values.

Some values associated with forests are neither economic nor production-oriented. In fact, everyone who benefits from America=s wildland and urban forests assigns a unique value to their resources. To determine the value of those forests, we discounted recreational activities constituting the removal of forest resources, such as coldwater fishing and big game hunting. The list of activities and their dollar surplus, or net economic value, are then provided (Table).

For the purposes of this report, the only known, readily available measures of non-consumptive values of America=s forests are sets of recreational-use values associated with type of recreational pursuits for each of 10 ecoregions. These values were estimated using travel cost methodology and using a Forest Service ACUSTOMER@ data base. National-level values have also been estimated for the same sets of activities. In some ecoregions, data was for demand model estimation for some activity categories and, therefore, estimation of consumer surplus net economic value.

National-level estimates of net economic values (not including hunting and fishing) for recreational use of natural resources will be reported. Reporting in future years may be problematic because there is no assurance that a data base of the magnitude and geographic scope of the CUSTOMER data base will be available. Work to estimate a new set of national valuation models for the Forest Service RPA Program for the year 2000 is ongoing.

Water and other primary elements of the natural environment have always held attractions for people, an attraction that has grown exponentially in recent years. World tourism is currently providing one out of every 15 jobs worldwide, and an estimated 50 percent of travelers seek an experience of nature in their touring. The implications of these trends require further study.

Data Summary

Water and land-based activities in America were used in the individual travel cost method (ITCM) to estimate demand. The data range from $14.98 per person, per day (wildlife observation) to $154.65 per person, per day (outdoor swimming) (Table 7-17). Most of the net economic value of these activities range from $20 to $30 per person, per day.




Table 7-17. Results of Reduced Models for Aggregate Activities



Model (without Nonlocal dummy)

in dollars

Activities (no. of observations in parentheses)

Surplus (day)

Land Bound

Upper Bound

Developed and Primitive Camping (10410)




Day Hiking and Walking (2401)




Whitewater Rafting (240)




Bicycling and Mountain Biking (179)




Nature Study and Photography (420)




Picnicking (1211)




Outdoor Swimming (2311)




Wildlife Observation (787)




Visiting Prehistorical Sites (1274)




Relaxing and No Main Activities (3557)






In the database report, these data are disaggregated into ecoregions. This may be useful in comparing characteristics of recreation sites, and in postulating how net economic values differ; that is, to compare dollars per activity across ecoregions.


Data regarding the value of many elements of the natural world, e.g., the intrinsic value of wildlife, are not available. Moreover, such values may not lend themselves to economic consideration. An exception includes the measure of willingness-to-pay.

E. Employment and Community Needs

INDICATOR 44: Direct and indirect employment in forest-dependent sectors and forest-dependent sector employment as a proportion of total employment.

Stable employment levels may be an indicator that a sector is a viable part of the domestic economy, provides value to society, and may be managed on a sustainable basis. However, employment may change because of changes in technology or for other reasons, so there can be other interpretations when fluctuations are observed.

The impact of economic activity is not restricted to an individual firm or group of firms (an industry). Gains or losses in business affect both industry suppliers and the buying power of employees within the industry and supplier firms. For this reason, it is of interest to track both the employment levels in forest-based industries, and in associated economic sectors. Input- output (I-O) analysis accomplishes exactly that. I-O models take a Ageneral equilibrium@ view of an economy and track the income, employment, and trade interactions between sectors.

For this indicator, direct employment is defined as employment in those industries dependent on forest resources. This would include not only those involved in commodity extraction, such as timber, range, and hunting, but also non-consumptive uses such as recreation. Indirect employment is that employment which is stimulated by economic activity in the directly forest-dependent industries.

Indirect employment per unit of direct employment is estimated through the use of multipliers. For example, if an employment multiplier of 5.8 is estimated for a particular industry, then for every job generated (or lost) by that industry, 4.8 jobs are supported (or lost) in the economy as a whole. This includes the economy-wide stimulus of employees, in the direct- and backwards- linked industries, spending their income. This relationship holds true only as long as there are no significant structural changes in the economy for which the multiplier is estimated. Significant changes would require a re-estimation of the multipliers. In general, the larger the geographic area included in the model, the larger the employment effect will be, given the higher number of interacting industries.

The Forest Services I-O model IMPLAN was used to generate the data presented below. IMPLAN is not the only source of such information. Data on direct employment are available from several sources; State labor departments and the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Census Bureau, and others. Multipliers that are used to estimate indirect employment per unit of direct employment are available from many sources as well, a principal one being the U.S. Department of Commerce RIMSII system. These sources may be accessed free of charge, whereas the IMPLANs databases cannot. IMPLAN was used here, however, as a matter of convenience. Both employment figures and multipliers are available from one source at both a county and national scale. With IMPLAN, as with any I-O model, estimates of indirect employment are derived by building a model of an area of interest and estimating employment multipliers. Data for direct and indirect employment within the U.S., for example, may be represented. Databases are available for 1977, 1980, 1982, 1985, and 1990-1993.

Data Summary

Employment level and multipliers are reported here for several forest-dependent sectors for the U.S. as a whole. Note that employment is reported in terms of full-time-equivalents, not actual numbers of jobs (Table 7-18).


Given more time, we may have further developed these data to include several regions in the U.S. to give a better idea of local linkages. GIS coverage would assist in the identification of physical links between and among ecoregions, and the political boundaries for which economic data exist. Nevertheless, the national data demonstrate the utility of this type of analysis.

For the years modeled, employment has been relatively stable in the forest products sector. Interestingly, though, forest sector employment itself represents a very small proportion of total U.S. employment--associated economic stimulus creates a much larger number of jobs throughout the rest of the economy. This type of information not only indicates that the forest resource continues to exist, it intimates that the quality and health of the resource have not been degraded in the short term. It is difficult to assert, however, that this indicator gives any idea of long- term sustainability. Changes in individual sectors over time would not necessarily indicate an impact on the sustainability of forest resources. It would be difficult to discern whether employment changes would be due to resource degradation, changes in markets, changes in societal values, or changes in technology.

Table 7-18. Direct and Indirect Forest Sector Employment

Employment Direct Indirect

Industry Year Multiplier Employment Employment


Forest 1990 2.7 21,776 37,019

Nurseries 1991 5.5 10,270 46,215

1992 4.5 3,273 11,456

1993 2.9 6,368 12,099

Commercial 1990 11.7 34,138 365,277

Forests 1991 15.2 27,250 386,950

1992 10.8 27,810 272,538

1993 12.8 28,026 330,707

Logging 1990 5.8 99,407 477,154

1991 6.2 91,897 477,864

1992 7.1 96,109 586,265

1993 7.8 94,945 645,626

Sawmills 1990 5.2 185,233 777,979

1991 5.7 170,339 800,593

1992 6.1 171,856 876,466

1993 6.6 169,969 951,826

Veneer & 1990 5.6 64,584 297,086

Plywood 1991 5.9 58,293 285,636

1992 6.1 59,376 302,818

1993 6.3 60,877 322,648

Pulp Mills 1990 12.1 13,960 154,956

1991 9.5 14,356 122,026

1992 12.2 13,797 154,526

1993 9.6 13,149 113,081

Total Forest Sector Employment (% US tot)

1990 137,153,200 419,098(.3%) 2,109,471(1.5%)

1991 139,586,600 372,405(.3%) 2,119,284(1.5%)

1992 139,678,200 372,221(.3%) 2,204,069(1.6%)

1993 141,981,500 373,334(.3%) 2,375,987(1.7%)


An explicit link between economic activity and the state of the biophysical resource would give a better idea of the long-term prognosis. This information could be developed from an integrated economic- ecologic I-O model, which then could be used to estimate the ties between levels of direct and indirect economic activity and the state of the resource base. This, of course, would be far more data-intensive.

INDICATOR 45: Average wage rates and injury rates in major employment categories within the forest sector.

Stable-to-increasing wages in the forest sector may indicate that employment provided by forestry and forest products enterprises are competitive and in demand by the labor force, providing stable sources of income for communities. Low and decreasing injury rates may indicate high standards of safety in the forest sector workplace and quality employment for forest sector labor forces.

Data Summary

Average wage in Table 7-19 are in current dollars. Injury rates in Table 7-20 are job-related injury and illness rates per 100 workers. Data are available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Table 7-19. Average hourly wage rates for selected forest sector jobs.

Wages in current $ Wages in constant 1982 $

Plyw & Wage Plyw &

Year Logging Sawmill Veneer Paper Index Logging Sawmill Veneer Paper

1950 1.21 1.48 28.30 4.28 5.23

1955 1.50 1.85 32.10 4.67 5.76

1960 1.71 2.30 31.30 5.46 7.35

1965 2.03 2.70 36.60 5.55 7.38

1970 2.84 3.55 46.90 6.06 7.57

1975 5.28 4.34 5.05 5.26 61.80 8.54 7.02 8.17 8.51

1980 8.64 6.70 7.94 8.27 105.50 8.19 6.35 7.53 7.84

1985 10.90 8.52 9.84 138.10 7.89 6.17 7.13

1990 11.22 9.22 10.34 156.10 7.19 5.91 6.62

1995 11.66 10.31 12.21 183.00 6.37 5.63 6.67

1996 11.80 10.59 12.72 189.70 6.22 5.58 6.71



Table 7-20. Job related Injury and Illness rates (per 100 workers)

Veneer Pulp Paper Fish, Hunt,

Year Logging Sawmill & Plyw Mills Mills Forestry Trapping

1989 19.5 18.6 12.9 13.8 11.9 11.4 n/a

1990 17.5 18.1 13.5 8.5 11.3 13.3 6.0

1991 15.9 17.3 12.2 10.1 10.5 13.5 6.7

1992 14.6 16.4 11.5 10.0 9.7 11.6 n/a

1993 13.8 14.9 9.6 8.6 8.7 9.7 7.6

1994 11.0 13.2 9.7 7.7 8.7 9.5 6.6

1995 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a

1996 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a



The data clearly show that forest product jobs have gotten steadily safer since 1990. The U.S. Bureau of Labor reports injury and illness rates for forestry, and fishing, hunting, and trapping. However, it is unclear how these sectors are defined, because they are not included in definitions by the Bureau of Labor.

If the premise is that increasing wages and safety would make forest-dependent jobs attractive to adjacent communities, the data presented above are a mixed bag. It is clear that these jobs are getting safer, but wages are decreasing in all sectors for which data are reported. If data were available on wages and injury rates for such areas as forest-based recreation, non-timber commodity production, etc., a more realistic picture of pressures on the forest resource could be developed.

INDICATOR 46: Viability and adaptability to changing economic conditions, of forest dependent communities, including indigenous communities.

Analysis for this indicator is based on the premise that the more diverse the economy, the more viable and adaptable it is, and the less likely that the forest resource will be over cut to provide jobs and income. As an index of economic diversity increases, it is assumed to be more likely that the forest will be managed on a sustainable basis. Data is lacking for indigenous communities, in particular.

If economic diversity is defined as the presence in an area of a great number of different types of industries, or the extent to which the economic activity of a region is distributed among a number of categories, then a regionl summary statistic could help describe an area=s comparative economic diversity. The Shannon-Weaver entropy function (Shannon and Weaver 1949) has been used to calculate indices of economic diversity. Perfect diversity occurs when all industries contribute equally to the region=s employment.


Data Summary

Economic diversity indices have been computed for all U.S. counties, labor market areas, and States, and for some Tribal governments, using IMPLAN employment data for the years 1977, 1982, 1985, and 1990 to 1993. Also, indices have been computed for three levels of industry aggregation: 1-, 2-, and 4-digit SIC groups. These data are available in various spreadsheet and database formats. There is no explicit correlation among the indices and the physical geography of the areas for which they were calculated, so there is no way to illustrate a tie between forest preservation and economic diversity. This would be an important link to consider because rural economies dependent on the extraction of wood fiber from the forest tend to be less diverse. It would be of interest to study whether there is any trend in forest management practices between areas of different economic diversity, and in areas where diversity has changed over time.


Data show, economic diversity has increased over time throughout the U.S.

INDICATOR 47: Area and percent of forest land used for subsistence purposes.

People who depend on forests for their daily survival and livelihood will likely support sustainable forest management for multiple values. A stable-to-increasing area of forest that is used for subsistence purposes may indicate that subsistence rights are being honored, and that society values the forest for reasons other than its direct economic benefit.

It is difficult to identify a single, useful definition of subsistence. In the search for data for this indicator, it was assumed that subsistence was any activity dependent on use of the land=s resources that does not require land-use conversion. Slash and burn subsistence agriculture was not included, for example. Subsistence activities include hunting, gathering, and timber or firewood extraction, if done for individual/family income, and if the forest resources at issue are left in such a condition as to remain viable over time.


It was difficult to gather meaningful data for measurement of this indicator. Although we carried out an exhaustive search of pertinent literature and various data bases, only apocryphal anecdotes or descriptive analyses germane to subsistence uses of forest resources were found. These were generally very useful and insightful studies, but because they yielded only non-numerical data, the information was not useful in defining this indicator.





The maintenance and enhancement of long-term multiple socio-economic benefits to meet the needs of societies from U.S. forests has been measured by nineteen indicators of production and consumption of wood and non-wood products; recreation and tourism resources; investment in the forestry sector; cultural, social and spiritual needs and values from forest resources; and, employment and community needs met by the forestry sector. The following highlights reflect the significant trends and indications of this criterion in relation to the sustainability of U.S. forests.


To evaluate sustainability of a certain trend in harvest for products, we need to determine if the expected future level can allow continual acceptable ecosystem function with a different level of harvest. Whether we can sustain a future higher level of harvest depends critically on the detailed character of the harvest - what species and sizes are harvested, how intensive is the growth and harvest area, what species and sizes of tree remains after harvest. Also, the role of substitute materials impact our ability to sustain production and consumption of wood and non-wood products. Our flexibility in alternating sources of raw material will make a critical difference in whether or not a future level of harvest is sustainable. The trend in flexibility can be measured by the increase in range of species and sizes of wood and recycled wood/paper that can be used for products.

Estimates of the value of non-wood products in the United States are most likely grossly underestimated based on a sample of available data. The potential value of individual products such as mushrooms or honey have significant values of production, although only a fraction of the value of major wood products.

Outdoor recreation and tourism are becoming increasingly more important to the management of forest lands in the USA and worldwide. In comparison with previous national assessments of forest and range lands, the trend in area of forest land managed for recreation and tourism is generally stable on government lands and significantly decreasing on private land access.

A variety of protected land and water areas exist which represent both historic and contemporary expressions of the cultural, social and spiritual values of the United States society. The total forest land appears to have stabilized while the number and area of protected sites has been increasing.





The level of sustainability for wood products industries, relative to growing populations, raw materials, labor, energy and capital, cannot be determined with a high degree of certainty.

Whether the trend in contributions of wood products to national income will continue to decline is not apparent with the current indicator; moreover, the level at which economic activity is sustainable has not been determined.

The actual acres of forest land managed for recreation cannot be determined; rather, the land available for recreation (weighted by forest area) is used.

The extent and level of consumer willingness to use recycled materials cannot be determined.

It is difficult to discern how employment changes relate to resource degradation, changes in markets, changes in societal values, or changes in technology.

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