Heart Of The Nation's Woodbasket
Arkansas is at the heart of this timber-rich area of the country, due to much of the state being covered by 19 million acres of forestland, or more than half of the total area of the state. This is having a huge impact on the state’s economy, timber and forest products companies from around the world, and the lives of the many families living in the area who are seeing an increase in jobs created by those companies.
The Arkansas Wood Basket - By the Numbers
- 19 million total acres of forestland covering 56% of the state
- 80% of forestland is privately owned
- Forestry contributes 5.1 percent of the state's economy
- Arkansas is the third most timber-dependent economy in the nation with a cash farm receipts value of $405M.
- Arkansas is the 9th leading producer in the U.S. (2018)
- Forest companies own 12% of the 80.44% of private timberland ownership.
a timber ready workforce
- 12.7% of the state's workforce is employed in manufacturing
- 3rd highest percentage of manufacturing employment in the south and 7th highest in the nation
- Arkansas is ranked 10th lowest in union membership at 5.2% as of January 1, 2020.
- 27,749 skilled workers employed in timber, paper products, and related industries
- 45 colleges, universities & 2-year colleges throughout Arkansas
- The College of Forestry, Agricultural, and Natural Resources at the University of Arkansas at Monticello is the only school of forestry in the state. UAM owns 1,400 acres of forestland used for teaching and learning.
- The UAM Forestry Research Center is an interdisciplinary collaboration of the UA Division of Agriculture (Ag Exp Station) and the Monticello campus engineers and researchers. Recent projects were related to biomass, habitat restoration, and bird migration.
- Most colleges and universities in Arkansas offer agribusiness, biology, and environmental science degrees, providing an educated labor pool in other fields related to forestry and timber.
History of Growth & Sustainability
- #4 in the South for the number of seedlings grown
- #1 in the South for the number of hardwood seedlings grown
- Abundant and sustainable water resources
- Average growth rate of 1.8 hardwood trees grown for each tree harvested
- Average growth rate of 1.5 pine trees grown for each tree harvested
- Average annual loss to wildfires from 2008-2017 was 22,740 acres, or roughly 0.1% of the state’s total forestland acreage
- Three U.S. Interstates connecting east and west coasts, and the Canada and Mexico borders, including I-30, I-55, and I-40
- 16,418 miles of state and U.S. Highways – 12th largest system in the U.S.
- Eight Intermodal freight facilities with four riverports
- 2,505 miles of rail and three Class 1 rail systems
- #3 in the nation with 1,000 miles of waterways
- More than 90 public airports including Clinton National, Northwest Arkansas National, and close proximity to Memphis International Airport and the Fed-Ex hub
Download the Timber Report
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"Agriculture is Arkansas’s leading industry with timber making up a third of the overall income. The state has a strong stewardship program in place to protect timber as a renewable resource."
"The acquisition of the U.S. sawmills is the right move, at the right time; it will give us immediate scale in an attractive region, with quality assets in a rich fiber basket, close to growing end-markets."
CEO, Resolute Forest Products
“In Arkansas, we are growing more timber than we have markets for, and we have a saying: ‘A working forest is a healthy forest.’”
Former CEO, Deltic Timber
AEDC's mission is to create economic opportunity by attracting higher paying jobs, expanding and diversifying our state and local economies, increasing incomes and investment, and generating positive growth throughout Arkansas. Here are some examples of businesses that are thriving!View All