Economic Development FAQs answered by Texas A&M Forest Service:


     + What is the economic impact of forestry in Texas?

    The forest sector includes all economic activities that depend on the production of goods and services from forests. It is important to the Texas economy, especially in East Texas where most of the state’s commercial forests are located. 


    In 2015 Texas produced:

    • 523.4 million cubic feet of timber 
    • 1.5 billion board feet of lumber
    • 2.4 billion square feet of structural panels
    • 2.1 million tons of pulp and paper products
    • Timber stumpage value was $316.4 million
    • Timber stumpage delivered value was $660.3 million

    The Texas forest sector also produces many value-added forest products such as treated wood products, millwork, wood kitchen cabinets, prefabricated wood buildings, wood furniture and various paper products (Harvest Trends 2015). 


    In 2015, the Texas forest sector:

    • produced industry outputs worth $18.3 billion including $4.9 billion in value-added products
    • employed 66,093 workers
    • paid $3.7 billion in wages, salaries and benefits
    The annual total impact to the Texas economy in 2015 from the forest sector was $32.5 billion, which included value-added products worth $12.8 billion. In the same year, the Texas forest sector generated 144,583 jobs and created $8.4 billion in labor income (Texas 2015). 


     + Who owns Texas Forests?

    In East Texas almost 92 percent of the timberland is privately owned. Family forest landowners are by far the largest group of private owners, accounting for about 53 percent of all timberland.


    In the past two decades most timberland held by corporations that own wood processing facilities has been sold to corporations that do not own wood processing facilities, such as Timberland Investment Management Organizations and Real Estate Investment Trusts. These corporations own about 24 percent of timberland in East Texas. 


    Other private ownership classes (i.e., nonindustrial corporate excluding TIMOs and REITs, unincorporated, Native American and nongovernmental organizations) account for about 15 percent of all timberland. Slightly more than 8 percent of timberland is publicly owned.


     + What are some economic development opportunities in East Texas?

    The 2008 Texas forest inventory showed increased volume and productivity of timberlands in Texas. In the southeastern part of the state, with the closing of several plywood and paper mills, there were excess supplies of both softwood and hardwood. 


    Preliminary analyses showed the existence of timber sources for additional wood conversion facilities in southeast Texas, such as a small pine sawmill, a pine OSB mill and a hardwood sawmill. You may contact us for more information on this topic.


     + What is woody biomass and where does it originate?

    Woody biomass is wood waste. It is produced when a forest is harvested or when trees are processed at a mill. While most wood in a logging operation is used, some wood remains behind in the form of logging residue such as small or cull trees and unused tree parts like tops and limbs. Young stands of small trees too small to be turned into a product may be thinned to improve health and vigor of the remaining trees, producing wood waste in the process. Most of the wood delivered to mills is used in making products, but there is usually some amount that does not make its way into the final product. Mill residue is a term applied to that material, and sawdust, chips, shavings and bark are typical forms.


     + How much woody biomass is in East Texas?

    East Texas has substantial amounts of biomass in the form of logging and mill residues. A total of 2.7 million tons of logging residue was generated in 2015: 66 percent were softwood and 34 percent were hardwood. 


    There were a total of 5.9 million tons of mill residue produced in East Texas in 2015: 85 percent were softwood and 15 percent were hardwood. Chips accounted for 48 percent of the total mill residue, followed by bark at 34 percent. Sawdust and shavings accounted for 12 percent and 6 percent, respectively, of the total mill residue produced. Except for stumps, all other biomass from logging and mill residue was available for energy production or chemical extraction.


     + What kind of help can I get to better manage my timberland?

    After the establishment of your timberland, there are many management decisions to be made, such as when to thin and harvest the timber, and how to conduct the sales. Texas A&M Forest Service has interactive online tools that can help you make timberland management decisions that will improve your financial return from the use of that timberland. The bi-monthly Timber Price Trends publication from TFS will give you a broad picture of the timber market. You can find wood buyers from the online Directory of the Forest Products Industries in Texas. A list of loggers in your area can be obtained from the Texas Forestry Association.