Michigan leads the nation in timber surplus – that amount of new annual forest growth that is not harvested according to US Forest Service statistics. Clearly fiber supply is available, yet it is not currently being managed across the state in a manner to effectively utilize the resource for the social, economic, and environmental well-being of Michigan’s residents. Passing the MI Forest Legislative Package is a vital component to sustain Michigan’s forests in the 21st Century.
Michigan’s forests contribute significantly to the social, economic, and environmental well-being of its citizens. There are over 1,400 forest products manufacturing facilities in Michigan, with more than an additional 1,700 business units related to forest products manufacturing (logging companies, consulting foresters, wholesalers). One out of every ten manufacturing jobs in Michigan is accounted for by the forest products industry. When considering direct and indirect effects of the industry on the state’s economy, the total economic benefit of the forest products industry is greater than $12 billion and represents over 150,000 jobs. The value of Michigan’s forests can be divided into distinct sectors – manufacturing, timber lands, and forest recreation. In most rural communities, the forest products industry is the leading employer and largest economic contributor.
Despite this important role that the forest products industry plays in Michigan’s economy, the industry has suffered as a direct result of the economic downturn in Midwest manufacturing of the past several years. The direct result of this downturn has been the loss of over 20,000 jobs, $700 million in wages and over 300 individual businesses/manufacturing facilities from the forest products industry. Indirect losses amount to much more when considering the loss of jobs, wages, and businesses related to the procurement, manufacture, and distribution of wood-based products.
The forest products industry’s stability is vitally important across the state, but especially critical in maintaining healthy economies in the rural communities that rely on the forest products industry.