Monthly Archives: October 2012

The State of South Carolina’s Forests

The State of South Carolina’s Forests

Forest Area

South Carolina has 13 million acres of forestland. This is 68% of the state’s total land area.
Hardwood Timber types occupy over 54% of the state’s forestland. Pines occupy 46%.
South Carolina’s forestland acreage remains stable, averaging 12.6 million acres since 1968.
The 2006 forest inventory found that there are over 2 million more acres of forestland than there were in the first inventory in 1936.

Economic Impact

Forestry is #1 among manufacturing industries in jobs (44,708) and payroll ($2.4 billion).
The total economic impact of South Carolina’s forest industry is $17.45 billion annually.
South Carolina exports about $1 billion in forest products each year.
Timber is the state’s #1 agricultural commodity at $870 million annually.

Forest Ownership

88% of South Carolina’s forests are privately owned.
67% of private forests are family-owned.
The average “family forest” is 65 acres. 74% of these owners live on the land.
Public agencies control 12% of South Carolina’s forests.

Forest Inventory

South Carolina’s forests now contain 21.5 billion cubic feet of wood, more than at any time in the past century.
The state’s forests, both hardwood and softwood, are growing significantly more wood than is being harvested.
Net annual softwood growth is double pre-hurricane Hugo growth rates. The present annual growth of 817 million cubic feet per year is the highest ever recorded.
Net annual hardwood growth rates have steadily increased since Hurricane Hugo. The present annual growth of 387 million cubic feet per year is approaching the highest ever recorded.

Forest Ecosystem Health

The state’s forested watersheds fulfill a critical resource role as the primary supplier of clean public water.
South Carolina’s forested watersheds are well managed as documented by a 98% complliance rating with state water quality guidelines.
The state’s forests produce timber and jobs while simultaneously serving as a backdrop for a desirable quality of life. In addition to beautiful landscapes, forests provide clean water, abundant wildlife, recreation, carbon storage and soil protection.

Sources: South Carolina Forestry Commission and USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA)

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