Private forests cover about 431 million acres in the United States or roughly one-half of the nation’s total forested acres. These forests produce more than 60 percent of the nation’s annual wood harvest. In several regions of the country, they are the primary source of pulp, lumber, plywood, and other wood products.
Private forests also generate a host of non-timber benefits such as water purification, carbon sequestration, wildlife habitat, and open space – usually at no cost to surrounding communities. The landowners who manage these private forests practice sustainability every day. They define sustainability as meeting the needs of society today without jeopardizing our ability to do so in the future.
The success of these forests is ongoing proof of the value of sustainable practices. For the past 100 years, total forest area in the U.S. has been stable – and even has grown, according to the 2010 U.S. Forest Service Resources Planning Act Assessment.
U.S. private landowners choose to manage their lands responsibly. One proof of the success of sustainable forest management is there are more U.S. forest lands today than 100 years ago, despite an increase in population.