The Economic Importance of New Hampshire’s Forest-Based Economy 2011

Executive Summary

 The North East State Foresters Association has published a report similar to this in 1995, 2001, 2004 and 2007 for New Hampshire and the states of Maine, New York and Vermont. The intent is to describe the direct economic value of the forests of these states—showing that, indeed, in addition to the valuable scenic and other amenity values the forests of New Hampshire provide, they are also an economic engine that is integral to the economy of the state. No economic multipliers were used in determining the value of forest-based manufacturing, forest-related recreation and tourism and Christmas tree/maple syrup economies. Only direct sales and employment have been identified.

 The economic value of these forest-based components of the economy of New Hampshire, at $2.259 billion annually, is nearly 4% of the Gross State Product, which is the measure of all economic activity in New Hampshire in a year. Clearly, forests play an important role in the economic and non-economic life of the state.

 New Hampshire is nearly 84% forested – this is about as much forestland as the state had in 1725. Families own over 68% of the state’s forests while government owns 24%, and the rest is owned by business.

 In 2009, 1.17 million cords of wood (2.8 million tons) were harvested in New Hampshire while 2.74 million cords (6.58 million tons) grew in the state’s forests. This sustainable use of our forests has resulted in a forest that has trees that are larger than in the past and getting larger, over time. As one would expect given the recent recession, harvest levels are down from 2005—except for harvests of wood used for energy, which are up 25%.

 The annual contribution of forest-based manufacturing to the state’s economy is nearly $1.15 billion with 8,160 jobs and payroll of $384 million a year while forest-based recreation and tourism is worth $1.12 billion with 11,401 jobs and payroll of $224 million. Combined, the forest’s direct impact on the economy of the state is $2.26 billion annually.

 Forest landowners received over $30 million from the sale of their timber in 2009. This resulted in timber taxes of over $3 million paid to communities.

 Wood for energy is an increasing use of wood in New Hampshire.

 The sale of Christmas trees, wreaths and maple syrup was valued at over $7 million in 2009.

 Every 1,000 acres of forest supports 1.7 forest-based manufacturing jobs and 2.4 forest-based recreation and tourism jobs.

 On a statewide level, forests are managed sustainably. Only 1/3 of the annual growth of our forests is harvested, resulting in a forest that is getting larger and older, on average.

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