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Forest Product Marketing, Utilization & Development
Forests cover 48 percent, approximately 13.8 million acres, of Louisiana’s land area. Fifty-nine of Louisiana’s 64 parishes contain land capable of producing sufficient timber to support forest industry activities as well as provide habitat for wildlife, recreation, scenic beauty and all the other environmental benefits timberlands provide.
There are approximately 148,000 owners of Louisiana forest land. Private, non-industrial landowners own 62 percent of the state’s forest land, forest products industries own 29 percent, and the public owns nine percent.
In 1999, forestry accounted for 69 percent of the total value of all plant commodities grown in Louisiana. Forestry contributes 55 percent of the value of Louisiana’s land-based industries, which includes all plants, animals, fresh water and marine fisheries. Timber is manufactured throughout the state into building materials, paper and chemical products, furniture, fixtures and numerous other products used in everyday life. Manufacturing residues are recovered for mulch, bedding, fuel and other products. Sawmills, panel plants, paper and pulp mills, chip mills, peeling plants, treating facilities and secondary manufacturers such as furniture companies, millwork and cabinet manufacturers are prevalent in Louisiana.
Timberland owners had 1.3 billion board feet of sawtimber and 6.25 million cords of pulp and chip-n-saw wood harvested in 1999.
The economic impact of forestry and wood-using industries to the state economy in 1999 was 4.4 billion dollars. Forest landowners received 680 million dollars from sale of their timber which provided 20.8 million dollars of severance taxes. Each log truck provides an average of 835 dollars in local, state and federal taxes.
The resource supports 180 primary and 750 secondary wood-using industries that position Louisiana’s forest industries as the second largest manufacturing employer in the state. In 1999, 25,514 people were employed in forest manufacturing with an estimated 8,000 employees harvesting and transporting timber. Manufacturing employees earned 927 million dollars in 1998. Timber harvesting contractors and their employees earned 555 million dollars in 1998.
During the 1998 planting season, Louisiana landowners reforested the land with over 102 million pine and hardwood tree seedlings. That many trees equates to 279,452 seedlings planted each day for a year! Every year more and more seedlings are planted to provide forests for the future.
Louisiana is a state blessed with abundant natural resources. Timber and the practice of professional forestry has and will continue to provide many products and benefits our society depends on and enjoys.
The department’s forest product marketing, utilization and development program provides information and assistance involving wood products. A key focus of the program is providing economic development assistance for existing, start-up, expanding and out-of-state corporations to the primary and secondary forest industry sectors.
Biomass energy related activities are coordinated through the Southeastern Regional Biomass Energy Program.
Louisiana Christmas Trees
Louisiana’s Christmas tree industry grew out of research in the early 1960s initiated by the School of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries at Louisiana State University. Louisiana’s climate is suitable for growing several species of popular trees allowing trees to reach market size much sooner than those grown in other regions of the country.
The freshest of the real Christmas trees are those grown locally, providing for a longer presentation in the home. Most Louisiana Christmas tree farmers provide their trees through choose and cut operations where customers choose and cut their tree amongst the field. Visiting a Christmas tree farm is a family experience and one of the few times that one has a chance to visit a working farm.
Several species of trees are grown with new trees appearing on the market. The most popular trees are the Leyland cypress (with several cultivars) and Virginia pine followed by Eastern red cedar, Deodar cedar, Carolina sapphire, Loblolly pine, and Spruce pine. Growers continually experiment with new species and cultivars so be on the lookout during your next visit.
If you have not tried a Louisiana grown tree you should consider having a family outing at a local tree farm where the freshest of real trees are available. There you will often find and experience more than a field of trees.
Louisiana is recognized as a national leader for the use of Christmas trees in coastal restoration projects. Please visit the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources web site describing the Parish Coastal Wetlands Restoration Program.
Tree Selection and Care Tips (PDF, 29KB)
Christmas Tree Associations
1991 Forest Inventory
The sixth Louisiana forest survey was completed in 1991. The survey is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Forest Service, Southern Research Station in cooperation with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, Office of Forestry.
The 1991 and prior surveys were conducted approximately every ten years. Beginning in the year 2000, surveys will occur every five years with a 20 percent annual sample.
The new surveys are part of a regional program known as the Southern Annual Forest Inventory System (SAFIS).
The 1991 survey data is presented in two publications: Forest Statistics for Louisiana Parishes – 1991 and Forest Resources of Louisiana, 1991. Both are available in hard copies from the U.S. Forest Service and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.