MONTPELIER – According to a recent report, the total economic value of Vermont’s forest economy is pegged at over $3.4 billion dollars.
The North East State Foresters Association (NEFA) and the VT Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation have released a report detailing the economic importance of Vermont’s forest-based economy. The report highlights the various sectors of Vermont’s economy that depend on wood, forests, and trees.
“Forest based manufacturing and forest related recreation and tourism are significant drivers for our economy,” says Vermont State Forester Steven Sinclair.
Sinclair listed some products and services we enjoy like firewood, lumber, fine furniture, maple syrup and Christmas trees, as being chief among the products. Forests also yield “ecosystem services” such as providing clean water, carbon storage, and wildlife habitat. Vermont’s forests are the vital backdrop to recreation and tourism here.
The NEFA report shows that nearly 21,000 jobs in all sectors are directly impacted by Vermont’s forests. While manufacturing jobs in Vermont’s wood products businesses have declined over the past decade, the harvest of timber from Vermont has stayed relatively stable.
Sinclair points out that most of Vermont’s wood is coming from family forests.
“About 80 percent of Vermont’s forested lands are owned by individuals and families. So, when you buy Vermont wood, you really are buying local. The NEFA report supports the Vermont’s Working Lands Enterprise Initiative to stimulate a concerted economic development effort on behalf of Vermont’s agriculture and forest product sectors.”