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Forest Industry

The Forest Industry in Arkansas


Since the beginning of time, people have found many uses for trees. They have used them to build homes, as a source of food, to provide heat for themselves and cooking and for recreation. Arkansas is fortunate to have an abundance of forestland. As of 1988 there are more than 12 billion trees in the forests of the state, not counting those in parks, orchards, and residential areas. (Arkansas Forestry Association) These forests are a tremendous benefit for the people, both economical and environmental. The state's forest provides clean air, wildlife habitat, excellent soil and water quality, scenic beauty, recreation and good jobs. (Arkansas Forestry Commission)

Arkansas Forest Facts

18.4 million acres in Arkansas are forested

Private individuals own 58 percent of the state’s forestland. The state’s timber industry owns 25 percent and the federal government owns 17 percent.

Arkansas’ forestry professionals plant more than 79 million seedlings each year.

47,000 people are directly employed by the forest industry.

One in every six manufacturing jobs is involved in the production of forest products. The forest products payroll is the largest of any manufacturing industry in the state.

More than 1000 forest resource-based companies operate in the state. (

Forest Industry

The timber of Arkansas is used for building products, such as lumber, plywood, and chipboard. The forests of Arkansas also supply valuable chemicals. Chemicals such as turpentine and rosin come from the sticky sap of trees. Lignin is another chemical attained from trees. Lignin is a glue-like chemical that holds wood fiber together. Cellulose, the wood fiber used for making pulp and paper, is also used in many other products. Cellulose gum is what makes toothpaste "paste" and helps it stay on the toothbrush. In parmesan cheese, cellulose power keeps the grated cheese from getting lumpy. Shampoo would be just watery soap without cellulose to make it thick. (

The forests of Arkansas are made up of 10 million acres of hardwoods that include many oaks and softwoods, mainly loblolly pine. These two types of timber provide the main source of lumber and pulp for the state with the loblolly pine being the principal commercial pine. (Reynolds)

Forest Industry

The loblolly pine is a large, resinous, and fragrant tree with rounded crown of spreading branches. Its height is 80 to 100 feet with a diameter of 2 to 3 feet. The needles are evergreen and 5 to 9 inches in length; there are 3 needles to a bundle. The bark in blackish gray; thick, deeply furrowed into scaly ridges exposing brown inner layers. The cones are 3 to 5 inches long; conical; dull brown; almost without a stalk; opening at maturity but remaining attached; cone-scales are raised, keeled, with short stout spines. (Eastern Forests)

Today, Arkansas’ forests are thriving, healthy and diverse thanks to forestry research and careful land management by the forest industry. As trees are harvested they are replaced with a variety of pine that can grow to maturity within 25 years insuring that the states’ forests provide wildlife habitat, recreation, building products and chemicals for generations to come.


Works sited

Eastern Forests; National Audubon Society nature Guides, Knopf, New York.

Reynolds, Tony. Forester Georgia Pacific interview

Jo Reynolds

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