Forests are the dominant eco-system on the Earth’s surface and supply the global population with a variety of products and services, as well as commercial and employment opportunities. The destruction of forests to create cropland and pastures is a major concern due to its negative impact on climate change and biodiversity.

Deforestation and negative impacts of exploitative wood harvesting have led to an increase in the application of sustainable forest management methods. The aim of sustainable forest management is to make economic use of forest lands possible, while striking a balance with ecological and societal concerns. The single use of forests, such as the practice of planting monoculture forests to completely cut them down for lumber production later, are giving way to a practice of multiple uses at the same time. Forest stands that are increasingly used as carbon sinks and wildlife habitats are, with the correct methods, still being used as lumber sources.

Country with the biggest forest area
Russian Federation
Average annual loss of forest area between 2010 and 2020
4.74m ha
Share of worldwide forests found in Russia

Industry insights

Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing - global 2021


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Market size

The U.S. roundwood market stagnates
Roundwood balance in North America from 2010 to 2020 (in 1,000 cubic meters)
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In 2019, U.S. roundwood removals amounted to 517 million cubic meters. For the last six years, removal numbers have only grown slightly. U.S. consumption of roundwood closely mirrored removals.

Imports and exports mirror each other too and have not seen major movement either. The market seems, for now, to be stagnating when it comes to the amount of roundwood needed and its production in the U.S.

Production value of the Chinese forestry industry
Canadian lumber production
U.S. lumber production

Regional overview

U.S. timberland is in private hands
Total area of timberland in the United States in 2018, by ownership (in 1,000 acres)
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Of the total 514,000 acres of timberland in the U.S., close to half was owned privately in 2018. Private non-corporate ownership was more than double that of the ownership of private corporations.

Meanwhile, the federal ownership of timberland only accounted for about 108,000 acres of land. Most of this land was part of the national forest system, while roughly 12,000 acres were in other federal hands.

Leading timberland owners in the U.S. & Canada
Total forest area in Canada
Forest acreage in China

Industry definition

Forestry as an industry concerns itself with the development, cultivation, management, and preservation of forests. The goal of these efforts is to provide lumber wood, sinks for CO², spaces for wildlife, areas for human recreation, and more uses. Depending on management intentions, a variety of methods can be employed such as creating even and uneven-aged forests, clear-cutting, shelterwood cutting, thinning, and selection cutting.

Types and degrees of commercialization and use can drastically vary in the industry. Due to the slow development of forests, the industry is reliant on extensive and well-thought-out long-term planning. This planning becomes more important when multiple uses are desired for a specific forest location, especially if sustainable management of the forest is intended. For the forestry industry, Statista provides data that covers the size of forest areas and their use, wood production, industry leaders, products made from wood, and more.


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