Look to the FUTURE - Look to the FOREST

Idahoís past and future is tied to the millions of acres of forests that cover the state. These forests are Idahoís legacy. They contribute to our state and our way of life.

We all benefit from the wood and paper products, clean water, wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities Idaho ís forests provide. In the future, weíll look to our forests for even more: clean energy, new products, carbon storage, good jobs and a healthy environment.
The challenge will be to keep our legacy healthy and productive through active forest management.

    Trees:   Nature's Brilliant Invention    

Trees are the earthís oldest living organisms. They improve air and water quality; reduce heating and cooling costs; provide a cool and beautiful place to live, work and play; are a renewable source of fuel, shelter, food and other products and provide benefits that directly affect the economic, environmental and social health of Idahoís people and the communities where they live.

One reason we harvest trees is that we all use forest products. Forest resources make up 47% of the total raw materials used in U. S. manufacturing. In fact, each year the average American uses the equivalent of a tree about 100í tall and 18" in diameter. Itís a good thing that nearly 100% of a tree can be used to make wood and other forest products.

Idaho's forests are home to over 20 kinds of trees: "hardwoods" with broad leaves, "softwoods" with needles, "deciduous" trees that lose their leaves each year, and "evergreen" trees that do not.

Look to the FOREST

RENEWABLE. A renewable resource is a natural resource that can be re-grown, re-made or re-generated. When trees die or are harvested, others can be grown for the future. In Idaho , state law requires that a healthy, robust forest be quickly re-established following harvest.

SUSTAINABLE. Forests can be used and managed to meet our environmental, economic and social needs today while leaving the forests in a condition that allows future generations to meet their own needs. All Idaho forestland owners must comply with state and federal environmental laws that protect forest resources. Many forest owners also enroll in a voluntary certification system which provides consumers with a third-party verification of sustainable management practices.

DYNAMIC. Like people, trees are living things that are constantly moving through some part of their life cycle. Forests are dynamic and can never stay the same over time.

Working Forests are where trees are continuously grown,
harvested and re-grown for the future.

JOBS: Working forests fuel Idaho ís economy with wages, taxes and purchases from employees and businesses. Primary forest businesses directly provided 13,500 jobs in Idaho in 2008 and supported thousands of other related jobs in service and related businesses.

PRODUCTS: Idaho ís working forests provide wood and paper products that are marketed and used throughout the world. In 2008, around $1.7 billion of Idaho wood and paper products were sold.

ENERGY: Wood building products are the best insulator against heat and cold that helps conserve energy and save on energy costs.
Biomass energy is a major product as most mills burn wood waste to generate heat and electricity for manufacturing. Thinning hazardous fuels in forests could provide electricity and help meet Idaho ís growing energy needs. Woody biomass may be used in the future for bio-fuels and bio-products to replace fossil fuels.

ENVIRONMENT: Wood is the ultimate "green" product -- itís renewable, sustainable, recyclable, grown locally, versatile, biodegradable and has a smaller energy, water and carbon life cycle footprint than other products.

CARBON AND FORESTS: Healthy forests soak up carbon dioxide as they grow. Trees and wood products store carbon over long periods of time. Carbon dioxide is released as trees die and decay. Wildfires also release a tremendous amount of carbon into the atmosphere when they burn. Active forest management can help. Thinning and harvesting help keep forests healthy, growing and resistant to insects, disease and fire.

Working forests hold great promise for Idaho ís future -- clean energy, new products and jobs, carbon storage and a healthy environment for our children and their children.

Trees: Idaho ís growing resource

Species used to make forest products in Idaho :

  • Lodgepole Pine
  • Western hemlock
  • Western larch
  • Douglas-fir
  • Ponderosa pine
  • Grand fir
  • Englemann spruce
  • Subalpine fir
  • Mountain hemlock
  • Western white pine
  • Western red cedar
  • ( Idaho ís state tree)

    Since 1951, timber harvested from state "endowment" forests have earned over $1 billion for public schools and institutions!

    In 2011, nearly $68 million was distributed throughout Idaho.

    The Idaho Forest is Big

    Of the 53 million acres of land in Idaho , "forest land" covers 21 million acres including 17 million acres of that are productive "timberlands", that are generally available for timber harvest. Forest ownership is divided between federal and state government, private landowners and forest product businesses. Each owner has specific objectives that determine how the forest is managed.

    Hundreds of products are made from
    trees harvested in Idaho every year:

    Lumber and other structural building products such as dimensional lumber, solid beams, laminated beams, shingles, joists, laminated veneer lumber, finger-jointed lumber and engineered wood products.

    Millwork used for doors, windows, cabinets, furniture, siding, flooring, moldings, fencing, shipping pallets.

    Panel products such as plywood, particleboard and hardboard.

    Posts, poles and timbers such as utility poles, house logs, fence posts, pilings, treated timbers, cross-arms and railroad ties.

    Wood composite products such as siding, roofing, medium-density fiberboard and molding.

    Pulp and paper products from wood fiber including packaging for food and products, newsprint, bathroom and facial tissue and paper toweling.


    Idaho Forest Products Commission
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