The Numbers on Productive Timberland

42land-341Compared to the rest of the country, private investment in land across the state of South Carolina is especially high. The high proportion of privately-owned land is on timberland thanks to its high return on investment. And it is no mistake this happens to be in the Palmetto State; these private investors know what they’re doing and how to make their money work for them.

How big is Timber in South Carolina?

Only 10% of South Carolina timberland is publicly owned. The remaining timberland is 16% owned by the forest industry and 74% by non-industrial private landowners. This compares to the national figure of 27% public lands, 14% belonging to the forest industry and only 59% to private landowners. Owning a total of 12.3 million acres, timber is South Carolina’s largest cash crop, totaling collective annual revenue of over $876 million.

The 88,000 Private land owners statewide make timber the 3rd largest manufacturing industry in South Carolina, employing over 32,000 residents to contribute $8.5 billion annually to the economy. On the approximately two-thirds of South Carolina’s land area across every single county, landowners regenerated over 300,000 acres every single year between 1993 and 2000.

How this Compares on the National Level:

With forests covering an astounding 33% of the United States, the majority of the crop comes from private landowners, accounting for 49% of the output. This compares to the forest industry turning out 33% and national forests producing 18%.

The United States leads the world in forest product output and consumption, responsible for a whole 25%, followed by Canada and Russia. Employing about 1.6 million people- roughly 1.2% of the US workforce- the timber industry has actually even increased forests 10% since 1920.

South Carolina timber production consistently beats the national average. Total output, gross revenue and industry employment put South Carolina in the top 3 for timber-producing states. And with the United Nations projecting demand for timber products to double by the year 2050, South Carolina timberland owners are in an advantageous position.