SIC 0851

This industry classification includes establishments primarily engaged in performing, on a contract or fee basis, services related to timber production, wood technology, forestry economics and marketing, and other forestry services, not elsewhere classified, such as cruising timber, fire fighting, and reforestation.

NAICS Code(s)

115310 (Support Activities for Forestry)

Industry Snapshot

One-third of the United States is forestland. The challenge for federal government, activists' groups, and private companies is how best to put the resources to work, yet preserve old-growth trees and animal habitats. U.S. forests cover nearly 747 million acres, or one-third of the nation's lands. Of that total, 52 million acres are "set aside" for nontimber use, such as parks and reserves, as proscribed by the federal government. Two-thirds of the forestlands (503.6 million acres) are classified as timberlands, capable of producing 20 cubic feet of commercial wood per year. In 2001 nonindustrial private ownership accounted for 58 percent of timberlands. Twenty-nine percent was owned by the federal government (19 percent, national forest; 10 percent, other public use), and 13 percent was used by the commercial forest industry.

The United States is the world's leading producer and consumer of wood products, supplying 25 percent and consuming 30 percent. According to the American Forest and Paper Association (AFPA), in 2000 Americans consumed an average of 718 pounds of paper products and 18 cubic feet of lumber products. New housing accounts for 40 percent of all lumber use; remodeling and repair, 28 percent; nonresidential and manufacturing, 15 percent; and shipper containers, 9 percent. Paperboard accounts for 45 percent of all paper goods; printing/writing, 31 percent; newsprint, 12 percent; tissue, 7 percent; and packaging and other, 5 percent.

Federal regulations regarding the industry are numerous. They encompass everything from road construction to reforestation mandates. Many in the industry see these regulations as excessively burdensome and a barrier to trade. However, for many years private companies harvested trees on public lands, paying nothing to the public coffers and having little regard to the impact of wholesale tree clearing. The U.S. Forest Service stepped in, and with the help of public pressure due to awareness to the need for the forests, set up regulations.

Organization and Structure

During the start of the twentieth century, the economic future of the United States was heavily dependent on the "perpetual supply of timber," as noted in a 1923 editorial in The Timberman, a leading forest products journal. The forestry services industry took hold from a philosophy that the nation's forestland was a resource that had to be serviced, protected, and renewed, rather than just harvested and diminished. Protection from wildfires and pest infestation of the nation's forests were essential for survival.

As the timber industry grew and became more competitive, so did related services: timber cruisers hiked through forests to assess logging conditions and estimate the volume of marketable timber; and estimators, log graders, and scalers inspected logs for defects, measured them to determine volume, and estimated marketable content or value for pulpwood and other uses. Timber and related industries grew at a fast pace along with the demand for skilled loggers.

Vast Forest Resources. As the growth of forestland that required servicing increased, so did the growth for the demand of the forestry services industry. In 1996 over 737 million acres—or approximately one-third of the total U.S. land area—was forested. In Oregon, Washington, and California, more than 10 million acres of old-growth forest can be found. Nonfederal public agencies, the forest industry, farmers and ranchers, and other private individuals owned the majority of this forestland.

Fire fighting and prevention, pest control, and forest management plans took hold in the 1980s and 1990s due to the new philosophy of managing the U.S. forests as complex ecosystems, containing interdependent communities of plants, animals, and microbes. This new way of looking at forests was greatly influenced by the declining number of U.S. forestlands during the early 1970s. Reforestation and new forestry management efforts started, in part to prevent the decline of 1.5 million acres each year between 1970 and 1987. The efforts paid off, for by the early 1990s, the rate of U.S. forest depletion had decreased to approximately half a million acres per year. However, government sources still project a decline of 4 percent of forestland to about 703 million acres by the year 2040.

International Forest Servicing. The issues of deforestation, acid deposition, climate change, and endangered species were problems that crossed national boundaries. During the 1980s and 1990s, natural resource issues helped create an international forestry emphasis. Many U.S. companies and organizations specializing in forestry services increasingly contributed to reforestation efforts in forests from the Amazon to Malaysia. The authorization of the 1990 Farm Bill communicated to the world that the U.S. Forest Service supported forestry services work on an international basis. It coordinated efforts with the U.S. Department of State and other organizations. The Foreign Operations Appropriations Act of 1990 authorized increased funds for international forestry services performed by various agencies, including the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID). By 1991 international operations had gained such clout that the Forest Service elevated the International Forestry Staff to division status. In addition to internationalization at the federal level, private industry leaders were performing forestry services around the world.

Public vs. Private Services. Historically, the forestry services industry has been divided between federal and private control, with the two sectors often overlapping in both cooperative efforts and disputes. With the rise of industrial forestry in the late 1900s, budding forestry products companies developed individual management plans, fire and pest control systems, and business priorities. As early as 1904, the Weyerhaeuser Company reforested 1.3 million acres of timberland in Washington State, and following the 1903 and 1908 fires in the Northeast and the 1902 and 1910 fires in Idaho and the Northwest, private companies drafted the first fire protection organizations.

The scene changed dramatically, however, with the 1905 establishment of the U.S. Forest Service. After the 1920s the Forest Service began a campaign advocating the federal regulation of private timber harvesting. Even though federal forests accounted for less than one-fifth of total U.S. forestland, government regulations influenced private industry in such areas as logging, road construction, reforestation mandates, taxation of private forests, and use of herbicides and pesticides. Entering the 1990s private forest landowners and forest industry leaders took issue with many federal regulations, arguing that forest management plans for public forestlands were incompatible with market-driven interests of private foresters.

Background and Development

Since its creation, the U.S. Forest Service, the largest bureau in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, served as an innovator and driving force in forestry services. The Forest Service managed the National Forest System (made up of 191 million acres) and worked with state land management organizations to help private landowners apply sound natural resource management practices on their lands. The service's research division strove to develop the means and understanding to enhance and protect productivity of forestlands, with special emphasis on natural resource issues of national and international scope. Finally, the international forestry arm of the U.S. Forest Service facilitated the exchange of technical expertise and managerial skills with other nations.

At the turn of the twentieth century, public forests had become an immense timber commons with no established property rights and no incentives for responsible harvesting or reforestation. By the 1860s and 1870s, exploitation of vast timber tracts began to stir national attention. A new awareness emerged; in his famous study, "Man and Nature," George Marsh described the central role of forests in overall environmental health, from erosion control to water flow. In addition, the Timber Culture Act of 1873 granted settlers 160-acre tracts, provided they planted and sustained trees on a quarter of the land, and in 1875 the American Forestry Association was founded.

Over the next two decades, a series of measures was taken to control the occupancy and use of forestlands. After legislation to set aside national forest reserves was introduced in 1876, 15 years elapsed until the Reform Act of 1891 finally provided for the creation of forest reserves. By 1892 U.S. President Benjamin Harrison had contained 13 million acres in forest reserves, and by 1893 President Grover Cleveland oversaw an addition of 4.5 million acres.

When the National Academy of Sciences appointed a study commission to consider the future of the forest reserves in 1896, Gifford Pinchot, the future head of the U.S. Forest Service, rose to prominence. His advocacy of forest management aimed at productive use, emphasizing timber harvesting, spurred the 1897 passage of the Forest Reserve Act, which established regulations for the use of forest reserves. Prompted by Pinchot, President Theodore Roosevelt provided the final impetus for the Transfer Act of 1905, whereby forestry management was consolidated in the Bureau of Forestry within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Forest Service had been created.

A drive for public regulation of private timber harvest gained considerable impetus with the 1919 meeting of the Society of American Foresters, chaired by Pinchot. The committee forecast that the nation would face a veritable "timber famine" within 50 years if forestry management were not reformed. Under the guidance of Pinchot, the U.S. Forest Service embraced ideals of scientific forestry management, with many critics claiming that it proceeded to employ the gusto of scientific methodology without any of the benefits of scientific problem solving.

With the passage of time came the implementation of numerous programs granting the U.S. Forest Service greater importance and scope in the forestry services industry. The Clarke-McNary Act of 1924 facilitated the transfer of federal funds and programs to state and local programs. With the New Deal came the 1933 National Plan for American Forestry (also called the Copeland Report), calling for greater federal forestlands and national forest management.

Starting in the late 1950s, the Forest Service forged a general plan of national forestry management that continued to carry substantial influence well into the 1990s. The Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960 mandated that production of timber supplies in national forests be continuous and that a variety of goods and services—including timber, hunting, fishing, and recreation—be produced. The 1974 Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act (RPA) concluded that major shortages of timber were likely to develop and encouraged long-range planning processes. The National Forest Management Act of 1976 provided additional guidance on planning and management of the National Forest System. These acts served as the building blocks for the Forest Service's application of multiple-use forestry management into the 1990s.

American Tree Farm System. In order to foster the sound management of privately owned woodlands, the forest products industry organized the American Tree Farm System, a nationwide conservation program dating back to the 1920s. The program demonstrated that privately owned forestlands could be managed in the public interest without the supervision of the Forest Service.

The Tree Farm program began in 1941, when Weyerhaeuser Timber Co. called on public and local foresters to help protect one of its major tracts in western Washington. The resulting Clemons Tree Farm, named after the pioneer logger Charles H. Clemons, set the precedent for a wide line of similar organizations. Later that year, the West Coast Lumberman's Association and the Pacific Northwest Loggers Association (later the Industrial Forestry Association) established the West Coast Tree Farm Program for the Douglas fir region of western Oregon and Washington. Other tree farms opened throughout the United States, including the Western Pine Association, with a 450,000-acre tract in eastern Oregon and the Arkansas Forestry Commission. Before long, the program went national.

In November of 1941, the American Forest Products Industries (AFPI), then a subsidiary of the National Lumber Manufacturers Association (NLMA), assumed major sponsorship and national promotional role. The organization's dictates were systematically set forth in the Principles of the American Tree Farm System of 1954. The AFPI assumed administrative control on a national level, but also divvied out responsibilities to key local forest industry committees around the country. When the AFPI was reorganized as the American Forest Institute (AFI) in the mid-1960s, the tree farm program lost central support and cohesiveness until the mid-1970s. By 1980, however, the American Tree Farm System registered 38,926 certified tree farms occupying 79.6 million acres of industry-owned and nonindustrial forestland. A green and white diamond-shaped tree farm sign became the symbol for sound private forest management.

Fire Control. The rise of industrial forestry called for a new perspective on fire management. Private timber owners were instrumental in forming the first fire protection agencies. In the early 1900s, fire protection associations emerged in California, the Lake States, Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire. One of the most renowned and longest lasting organizations was the Western Forestry and Conservation Association (WFCA), founded in 1909 and boasting members in 11 states and Canada by the early 1980s.

After the General Land Office (GLO) transferred management and fire control of the national forest reserves to the U.S. Forest Service in 1905, the federal role in fire control moved to the foreground. The Forest Service controlled the national forest system, promoted cooperative fire control programs with states and private industry, and led research and planning initiatives toward development of modern forest fire control.

In early 1993 the focus of aerial fire fighting focused on improvements in safety and efficiency for this type of forestry service. NASA-Ames, the Bureau of Land Management, and the USDA-Forest Service signed an agreement to look at air traffic control issues around a fire area to improve communication and safety, work on a standard phraseology for working to extinguish the fire area, and introduce advanced navigation systems with electronic chart displays that reduce disorientation and improve safety and efficiency.

Affiliated government agencies worked separately, but in harmony with the Forest Service. The Forest Service made ties with the National Weather Service in forecasting and monitoring fires. It also chaired the Forest Protection Board from 1927 to 1933, serving as a central hub for cooperative action. Around 1934 the technique known as smoke jumping was introduced, incorporating military paratrooper training strategies to combat fires. During the New Deal, federal involvement assumed the cloak of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). When the Grazing Service and General Land Office reorganized as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in 1946, it became the largest federal fire service besides the Forest Service.

Following World War II, CCC ranks had been gravely depleted. Sparked in part by fears of "mass fires" used as offensive weapons by wartime enemies, the Forest Service carried fire-control efforts into the general public. The Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention Campaign featured Smokey the Bear, a character who spread fire safety messages to a broader audience. By the mid-1950s the Forest Service assumed responsibility for coordinating wildland and rural fire protection for the entire United States, providing material support and planning assistance to state and rural fire agencies. In the 1960s the Forest Service increased its emphasis on the control of wilderness fires. Over the next decades, fire protection services continued to grow and evolve along with changing technology and new forest conditions.

Social Changes. What started in the early 1990s as a small voice of reform in the U.S. Forest Service has turned out to exemplify the debate over the role of the forest industry and the move to protect forests. The Association of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics (AFSEEE) was created for government employees who feared their livelihoods in the U.S. Forest Service could be in jeopardy when environmental assessments might harm the prospects for timber sales. A U.S. Forest Service biologist, Marynell Oechsner, was asked to study how a proposed timber sale would affect wildlife in the Kootenai National Forest in northwestern Montana. She stated it would endanger a species of bear in the forest. The forest was also home to a large number of employed timber workers. She claimed during a Congressional hearing that her U.S. Forest Service supervisor pressured her into deleting the report's findings, which unfavorably affected the bear's habitat, because it would adversely impact the timber companies in the area. Jeff Debonis, a former Forest Service employee who founded AFSEEE, stated, "There's a civil war going on in the Forest Service." Career foresters who believe the agency balances environmental and logging policies are pitted against younger employees who worry that the agency is too beholden to the logging industry. In the mid-1990s, AFSEEE had 8,000 members, 2,000 of whom were U.S. Forest Service employees. Its purpose is to fight for Forest Service employees' rights to express professional opinions without the threat of job termination.

The forest industry, as well as its professionals, has been forced to change due to social, economic, and political pressures in the 1990s that have reduced the number of acres that can be harvested for timber. Many in the industry looked first to public agencies and forest product corporations for employment, but even as the largest single employer, the Forest Service in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the word "downsizing" is frequently spoken. However, many owners of small forest tracts are hiring forestry consultants to help manage land. The reductions in timber cutting on national forests have caused lumber and timber prices to rise. As profits from timber growing increase, forest product companies, especially the ones with large land holdings, are using more of the services that this industry sector can offer.

Deforestation. Starting in the mid-1980s, world attention veered toward the interrelated problems of global deforestation—especially in tropical forests—and its possible contributions to such environmental problems as global warming. At the 1990 Economic Summit in Houston, Texas, President George Bush proposed a global forest convention to address problems of deforestation, biodiversity, and forest management. At the 1991 Economic Summit in London, these concerns were reiterated in anticipation of the Earth Summit meeting scheduled for June of 1992 in Brazil. Capitalizing on many of the issues raised in these conferences, U.S. President Bill Clinton and his running mate, Al Gore, attracted considerable support of environmentalist groups in the 1993 presidential elections.

By 1993 more than 100 acres of rain forest were being destroyed every hour. The worst victims were the particularly fragile and ecologically rich rain forests in Brazil, Indonesia, and other locations. In the 1990s attention was also focused on the former Soviet Union, where huge tracts of untapped timber were in danger of uncontrolled exploitation. International pressure to curb deforestation in such areas assumed many forms: diplomacy and negotiations around committee tables; export bans and taxes on tropical wood products in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines; and such creative alternatives as debt-for-nature swaps. Illustrating this last strategy, in 1987 Conservation International acquired $650,000 of Bolivia's debt in exchange for that government's establishment of a 1.5-million hectares forest reserve to be managed for sustainable development. These and other measures required substantial funding: the World Resources Institute (WRI) estimated a cost of approximately $8 billion to tackle deforestation between 1985 and 1990 alone.

Public vs. Private. Another condition affecting the forestry services industry was the ongoing battle between the use of public and private forestland for market-driven purposes or for more environmentally conscious purposes, whether or not they made money. At the center of this contentious issue stood the fate of old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest. Actions to protect diverse ecosystems of the ancient forests raised concern over the impact on small, timber-dependent communities. The northern spotted owl, a regional inhabitant protected under the Endangered Species Act of 1990, became a focal point for the spotty differences between environment and industry, and between public and private forestlands. Many critics of the established system proposed complete privatization of timberlands, arguing that the federally managed system of multiple use and sustained yield also lost tremendous amounts of public money. Additionally, a new challenge to the spotted-owl logging protection arose in March 1997, when a federal appeals court allowed for new timber industry challenges to Northwest logging reductions that were ordered by President Clinton in 1993. Clinton's Northwest Forest Plan dropped logging levels on national forests in Oregon, Washington, and Northern California to approximately one-fourth the annual averages of the 1980s. The plan intended to protect the old-growth forests that were inhabited by the owl, which was declared an endangered species in 1990. The logging industry alleged the administration violated many procedural requirements that prevented government officials who drafted the plan from obtaining critical information that formulated the logging strategy. The Northwest Forestry Association believed that if the information from the industry was permitted, much more logging would have been made available to timber harvests.

New Forestry Initiatives. Moving into the 1990s, the forestry services industry saw the enactment of numerous forest-related initiatives. For example, 1991 marked the first year of the America the Beautiful program by which the Forest Service worked with state foresters to plant a goal of 970 million trees in rural areas and 30 million trees in urban areas. In March of 1991, the National Tree Trust, a private nonprofit group designed to raise funds for tree planting, opened offices in Washington, D.C. In October of 1993, President Clinton announced the recognition of National Forest Products Week, a period during which Americans were invited to participate in ceremonies and activities calling attention to the need for healthy and productive forests. And following a program calling for "New Perspectives," or "New Forestry," from the 1990s on, the Forest Service tried new ways of incorporating the concept of biodiversity into national forestry management. The course of the forestry services industry was bound for change into the twenty-first century.

In 1995 a new study was underway using a $1 million, 260-foot construction crane to study the Columbia Gorge forests. Cranes have been in use since 1990 to study the rain forest canopies of Venezuela and Panama, but this is the first time the higher canopies of the temperate forest were studied. The product was a joint effort of the U.S. Forest Service and the University of Washington. Temperate woodlands are estimated to be 40 percent of the world's forests, containing tree species that are the most commercially viable. The study sought to understand the workings of mature forests, so that new ways of harvesting the timber could be found while also preserving its ability to regrow logged sections.

Realizing that the Forest Service needs to work with local citizens and companies, the Camino Real Ranger District of New Mexico's Carson National Forest developed the Northern New Mexico Collaborative Stewardship (NNMCS). The fighting between all groups around the forest had reached a bitter pitch—companies and workers wanted fewer restrictions on using wood, and environmentalists wanted more. The Forest Service was in the middle and came up with an innovative way to manage all concerns. They literally went door-to-door surveying the surrounding community about concerns for management of the forest.

The NNMCS brings together people, organizations, and/or companies with conflicts and works with them for solutions. The Forest Service feels they are not just responding to one crisis after another, but preventing problems from getting out of control. In one case, the problem of Camino Real's overgrowth was explored, as the practice of control fires has been eliminated. To thin trees by hand was expensive, but the solution brought forth was to raise money to train Native Americans how to thin the forest. Local Hispanic communities used the wood for cooking and building.

Camnio Real won an Innovations in Government Award in 1998, along with $100,000. Recipients of the award have to use 80 percent of the money to set up the prize-winning program in other areas. The toughest challenge is not only convincing local communities to work with the Forest Service; it is convincing government employees to work with the communities.

Current Conditions

The major issues facing the forestry industry in the 2000s continue to be urban sprawl and sustainable development. According to a comprehensive study completed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, forestlands in the United States actually increased by nearly 1 percent between 1982 and 1997. However, developed lands grew by 34 percent within the same time period. In other words, the United States gained 3.5 million new acres of forestland, but 25 million acres of new development. The majority of U.S. timberlands are under private ownership. Nearly 10 million nonindustrial private owners control 58 percent of timberlands. Of these, nearly 93 percent are small land owners, with less than 100 acres of timberlands. As long as demand is high for undeveloped lands, timberland owners will likely continue to sell off their forests to developers. Some states are revising tax structures to provide timberland owners with incentives to grow trees rather than sell off lands.

In 2002 the National Commission on Science for Sustainable Forestry undertook a 5-year, $7.5 million study to develop a scientific basis for improving sustainable forest practices in the United States. Large forest fires that swept through the drought-stricken western regions have some forestry experts arguing that forests have been mismanaged. Too many young trees and too much underbrush, caused both by overlogging and fire suppression, have turned the forests into tinder boxes, ready to ignite. In 2002 President George W. Bush announced the "Healthy Forest Initiative," which effectively put aside numerous environmental regulations and appeals processes, allowing timber companies and the U.S. Forest Service to prune forests back to healthy levels.

Bush's plan was met with the immediate and strong disapproval of environmental groups, who feared that logging companies would take advantage of the freedom from environmental restrictions to overcut mature trees, doing even greater damage to the forests. "When the timber industry and its friends say we have to log the forest to save it, flags go up," Warren Alford, a regional forestry representative for the Sierra Club in Northern California, told U.S. News & World Report. Environmental groups, like the Sierra Club, argue that fires will naturally thin out forests without the intervention of the U.S. Forest Service and commercial loggers. However, with fires becoming hotter and more volatile due to the underbrush, the future for forests will likely involve more hands-on management, rather than less.

Industry Leaders

Looming over even the biggest private wood products companies, the U.S. Forest Service remained the largest player in the forestry services industry. In 2001 the organization reported $8.5 billion in assets and revenues of $1.4 billion.

Still, the combined ownership of the forest industry, farmers, and other private concerns accounted for roughly 70 percent of timberland in the United States. Much of that land depended on forestry services provided by private companies. After the 1950s, however, the forest products industry saw a consolidation of specialized companies into large and diversified organizations. Forestry services were increasingly performed by subsidiaries or divisions of larger forestry products and related companies. Therefore, the industry leaders in forestry services tended to overlap with leaders in the forest products industry.

International Paper was the leader in forest products in 2002, holding control of 9 million acres of forest in the United States. The company reported a net loss of $880 million on revenues of $25 billion in 2002. The second largest paper and building products company is Georgia-Pacific Corporation, which reported a net loss of $735 million on revenues of $23.3 billion in 2002. Other leaders are Weyerhaeuser Company, with 8 million acres and $18.5 billion in 2002 revenues, and Boise Cascade, with 2 million acres and $7.4 billion in 2002 revenues.


The forestry products industry employs 1.5 million people in the United States. In 2001 the U.S. Forest Service had nearly 30,000 permanent employees and approximately 12,500 contract, summer, and seasonal workers. In 2001 the U.S. Forest Service hired over 3,300 new firefighters.

In the U.S. Forest Service the top positions are chief, deputy chiefs, regional foresters, and stations directors. The positions command a salary of $90,000 to $120,000 per year. Many other positions are paid according to market conditions.

There are 17,150 logging tractor operators with a mean annual wage of $23,810. Log-handling equipment operators make a mean yearly wage of $24,430, and there are 18,120 employed. There are 11,480 fallers and buckers, and they make a mean yearly wage of $27,200. Choke setters receive $27,040 annually and comprise 2,960 workers. There are 20,330 forest and conservation workers receiving a mean yearly wage of $24,670. Log graders and scalers make up 3,790 of the industry's employees and have a mean annual wage of $23,250.

America and the World

By the 1990s the forestry services industry had become international in scope, with most important issues and projects crossing national borders. One example of such internationalism was the decision of the U.S. company Applied Energy Services (AES) to reforest 52 million trees in Guatemala in order to offset carbon dioxide emissions from its coal-fired power plant in Connecticut. AES's planting project began in June of 1989, with a projected time frame of 10 years and a cost of $15.7 million.

The Forest Service also stressed international operations. Among them, it worked with over 100 organizations and numerous countries on its Tropical Forestry Program. Latin America, the Caribbean, and South Pacific gained the most attention in that area. The Forest Service also cooperated with foreign countries—including Spain, Israel, and Brazil—in managing fires and forest insect and disease problems. In the early 1990s, the home front, too, was in the process of change. Congressional debates on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) bore strongly on the dynamics of the North American wood products industry and, by extension, on the role of forestry services in Mexico, the United States, and Canada.

International concern about deforestation stemmed from links between rates of forest destruction and global warming. Increased carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere was shown to trap the sun's heat. Since trees replace the carbon dioxide with oxygen, researchers maintained that fewer trees contributed to more carbon dioxide and faster global warming, with potentially devastating consequences to world ecosystems. In 1991 the Global Change Research Program was initiated by the Forest Service to increase understanding of climate changes.

A project that was born out of the concern for the growing buildup of atmospheric carbon dioxide and the increased threat of global warming uses aircraft for reforestation. A former aeronautical engineer and Israeli immigrant, Moshe Alamaro, was working on a project to drop tree seedlings in open-topped cones from aircraft in order to reach previously inaccessible areas. These "aerial bombs," as they are referred to, bear one-year old tree seedlings. Areas that are being sought to plant this way are war-torn battlefields, empty deserts, and steep slopes. This wasn't the first time aerial seeding has been tried however. Shortly after World War II, the mountain states in the United States were the site of similar efforts, but rodent predation often got to the edible seeds before they had a chance to grow. Today's technology incorporates the use of rodenticides to increase the tree seed's chances of survival. Honolulu was also a site back in 1925 for aerial seeding after a fire ravaged several acres of forestland.

The forestry industry continued to fight high trade barriers in other countries in the late 1990s. In contrast, other countries face little regulation when exporting forestry products to the United States. During the Uruguay Round of world trade talks, Japan declined to open its wood market to foreign competition, and the European Community decided not to phase out tariffs on paper products for 10 years. As a result, by 1998 the United States had a deficit in this industry of $9.4 billion, up from $3.0 billion in 1994.

Research and Technology

In the early 1990s, the advent of global positioning systems (GPS) revolutionized the way foresters work. It is comprised of high-tech software, computers, and satellites that can locate a point anywhere in the world. Hand-held GPS receiver systems are now available at affordable prices that give an instantaneous readout of the receiver's longitude, latitude, and elevation. Forestry applications are: improved mapping of roads and walking trails; exact acreages for harvesting, planting, or burn sites; better night walking; increased accuracy in finding archaeological sites or specific wildlife habitats; and exceptional tracking of every vehicle in a forest fleet.

Further Reading

American Forest and Paper Association. U.S. Forests Facts and Figures, 2003. Available from .

Baker, Beth. "U.S. Forest Service Program Builds Bridges Between Government and Public." BioScience, January 1999.

Carpenter, Betsy. "A Fading Green Hope for Climate." U.S. News & World Report, 10 February 2003, 80.

Doherty, Brian. "Freeing Forests." Reason, May 2002, 12-13.

"Financial Highlights." Boise Cascade, 24 November 1999. Available from .

"Georgia-Pacific Group Reports Strong Third Quarter Earnings." Georgia-Pacific, 21 October 1999. Available from .

"Global Trade Not So Good for Trees." American Forests, Winter 2002, 22.

"International Paper Reports Strong Improvement in Operating Earnings for Third Quarter." International Paper, 12 October 1999. Available from .

"John Dillion Testifies Before Congress to Urge Global Free Trade in the Forest Products Sector." International Paper, 5 August 1999. Available from .

Little, Jane Braxton. "A Light in the Forest." American Forests, Winter 2003, 29-32.

Moore, W. Henson. "Forests, Anti-sprawl and Taxation." Spectrum: The Journal of State Government, Spring 2002, 34-35.

"1997 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates." Occupational Employment Statistics, 24 November 1999. Available from .

Paige, Sean. "At a Critical Moment, Bush Administration Grants Greens Reprieve." Insight on the News, 15 October 2001, 47.

Petit, Charles W. "Fire Storm." U.S. News & World Report, 9 September 2002, 64.

Richardson, Valerie. "In Idaho, the Loggers are Losing." Insight on the News, 24 December 2001, 28-30.

"Strengthening Scientific Basis for Sustainable Forestry." Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, January 2002, 9A.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. U.S. Forest Facts and Historical Trends, June 2001. Available from .

U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Agricultural Conservation and Forestry Statistics, 2002. Available from .

User Contributions:

I've always wondered if forest fires could be prevented by wetting the areas that haven't recieved enough rain and are therefore so dry that thunders can spark them on fire. It may even be cost-effective. And even if it isn't it surely is safe for humans and animals. Please answer. Thank you.

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