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Forest wetland area and the forest sector economy in the U.S. South

Posted date: August 20, 2018
Publication Year: 
Authors: Cubbage, Frederick; Abt, Robert; Sheffield, Ray; Flather, Curtis H.; Wickham, James
Publication Series: 
Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Source: Open Journal of Forestry. 8: 409-428.


This article reviews current data on forest wetlands and their economic contributions in the South, ranging from Texas to Virginia. Based on USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data, the wetland category comprised 17.7% of timber land area on all private and public lands in the South. This included 4.25 million ha of hydric sites; 0.77 million ha mesic wet; 9.55 million ha mesic, with only seasonal access; for a total of 14.57 million ha. The Natural Resource Inventory (NRI) for 2012 on private lands estimated that there were 14.71 million ha forested wetlands, which comprised 17.7% of all forested private forest area. The 2015 National Land Cover Data for the South estimated that there were 17.8 million ha of woody wetlands, which comprised 8% to 12% of the southern land area, and there were also 4.45 million ha of emergent herbaceous sites. About 10% of the southern timber forest sector would be based on harvests from wetland forests economy ($455 million per year), while the 17.7% of wetland land area would provide a proportional share of the annual nontimber forest products ($44 million) and payments for ecosystem services ($134 million). Wetlands also provide important nontimber forest products, and ecosystem services, which are beginning to develop active private and public markets.


Cubbage, Frederick; Abt, Robert; Sheffield, Ray; Flather, Curt; Wickham, James. 2018. Forest wetland area and the forest sector economy in the U.S. South. Open Journal of Forestry. 8: 409-428.
National Strategic Program Areas: 
Resource Management and Use