About AEDC | Find Properties | Contact Business Development

New Report Highlights Strength of Arkansas’ Forestry Industry

 February 26, 2024

Forestry has a major impact on the State of Arkansas and its economy. Arkansas is, after all, the heart of the nation’s wood basket. A recent report spotlights the contributions of the forestry industry at the state and national levels.

The Arkansas Center for Forest Business, based at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, recently released its “2023 U.S. Forestry Economic Contribution by State” report, highlighting the impact of the forestry industry across the nation. In this report, the Arkansas Center for Forest Business looked at each state’s employment, labor income, gross domestic product (GDP), and forest resources.

Forestland covers 18,866,902 acres – or 56.6% of the land area in the Natural State. Of that forestland, the largest percentage is oak/hickory at 39%, followed by pine at 33% and bottomland hardwoods at 16%. Oak makes up 10% of the forestland in Arkansas; the remaining forestland is made up of other softwoods and “other” tree types, at 1% each.

Most of the forestland – the vast majority – is privately owned in Arkansas. Private owners hold 80.3% of the forestland in Arkansas, compared to 16.8% of federally owned forestland and 2.9% of state or locally owned forestland.

According to the report, Arkansas’ economy has the second-highest dependence on the forestry industry in the nation. Forestry contributes 4.1% to the state’s total GDP.

In Arkansas, the direct GDP of the forestry industry is $3,666,210,397, and the industry’s GDP multiplier effect adds $2,477,290,536. The total GDP of the state’s forestry industry, combining the direct GDP and the multiplier effect, is $6,143,500,933.

Arkansas’ forestry industry provides employment for a significant number of individuals. The industry provides direct employment of 26,778 individuals in Arkansas, as well as supporting 24,025 jobs in associated industries. Combined, the total number of jobs (direct and indirect) supported by the forestry industry in Arkansas is 50,803.

Direct labor income from the forestry industry in Arkansas is $1,773,779,539, while the indirect multiplier for labor income is $1,357,043,978. Annually, the total labor income fueled by the forestry industry is $3,130,823,517.

The report also breaks down the forestry sector in Arkansas by specific industries. The Solid Woods Products industry accounts for the largest portion of the state’s forestry-related GDP with $1,860,242,679, in addition to the largest employment count in the forestry sector with 10,507 employees. The Pulp and Paper industry is the second-largest forestry industry in Arkansas with $1,387,079,735 in GDP and 8,618 employees.

The logging and the furniture industries are closely matched in Arkansas, in terms of employment and GDP. Logging employs 3,591 individuals in Arkansas and has a GDP of $193,313,467. The furniture industry in Arkansas has an employment count of 3,498 and a GDP of $190,076,041.

To read the full report, click here.

Learn more about the forestry industry in Arkansas by downloading AEDC’s Forest and Timber Products Industry Report.