Forests bring surprising value to the Kansas economy
It may surprise many that a state forestry agency has served Kansans for more than 125 years, or that there are 5.2 million acres of forestland, agroforests and trees in the state that provide important environmental benefits.
"However, it is probably the economic benefits of the forest industry that are most often overlooked by Kansans," according to Bob Atchison, rural forestry coordinator with the Kansas Forest Service.
A recent analysis by Tom Treiman, natural resource economist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, showed that the Kansas forest products industry contributed $1.5 billion annually to the state's economy.
The industry supports more than 6,700 jobs at a payroll of about $360 million and is responsible for more than $43 million in taxes that help to run our state and country and another $69 million in federal taxes.
"These numbers include not only the direct effect of jobs in the primary wood processing industry, such as logging and sawmill operations, but also the indirect and 'induced' effects in the secondary wood products industry, such as cabinet shops, pallet manufacturing and so on," Atchison said. "This is especially true since loggers, saw mill operators, and carpenters, after all, buy groceries and gas just like the rest of us."
Sources of Treiman's data come from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Minnesota IMPLAN Group and the Kansas Forest Service at Kansas State University.
"And that $1.5 billion doesn't even include the value of a day spent walking in Kansas's woods with your family trying to spot a migrating warbler or next season's big buck," Atchison said.
More information is available at the Kansas Forest Service website at www.kansasforests.org.