In 2009, the New York Legislature authorized the NY Department of Agriculture & Markets to establish a Wood Products Development Council to promote the practice of forestry and the manufacture of wood products.  The Council’s authorizing legislation charges the group to:

“…work with wood-using manufacturers to increase the economic contributions and employment opportunities related to the practice of forestry and manufacture of wood products in New York State. The council shall give priority to increasing private investment in working forests; maintaining access to working and family forests; coordinating policy and permitting issues with state agencies, academia and the private sector; working to improve public understanding of and appreciation for forestry and forest products; and increasing export and market opportunities for New York forest products.” (1)

The council provides a unique opportunity for the NY Department of Agriculture and Markets to work in a collaborative manner with a variety of stakeholders, including:

  • A logger;

  • Commercial and family forest landowners;

  • Primary and secondary manufacturers of forest products;

  • State environmental conservation and economic development agencies;

  • Associations representing forest landowners and forest industries; and

  • Members of the general public.

This 13-member organization, the representation of which is spelled out in statute, provides a new and unique opportunity to work with a broad range of interests to promote the forest products and forests of New York.

New York State is over 60 percent forested – double the amount of forested land from only eighty years ago.  Forest-based manufacturing currently contributes $6.9 billion in value of shipments to the economy.  Forestry, logging and forest product manufacturing provide employment for over 57,000 across the state, and generate payroll of $2.1 billion.(2)

New York forests support an estimated 4.7 jobs per 1,000 acres of forestland, and provide $184 in payroll per acre of forestland.  New York forests contribute $205 per acre toward the gross domestic product.  All of these are the highest numbers in the Northeast.  (3)

New York’s forest products industry is critical to the state’s economic health.  The industry provides not only jobs and economic impact throughout Upstate New York, but it also critical to the maintenance of undeveloped forestland and the many benefits it provides, helps support a traditional way of life in many New York communities, and serves as an anchor for the state’s resource-based economy.  Building and growing a robust forest industry has important social and environmental benefits, as well as economic importance to New York.

1 New York Agriculture and Markets Law, Article 18, Section 225.  Wood Products Development Council.  Laws of the State of New York, Chapter 325, 2009 Legislative Session.
2 North East State Foresters Association.  The Economic Importance and Wood Flows from New York’s Forests.  2007.
3 Forest2Market.  The Economic Impact of Privately-Owned Forests.  Prepared for the National Alliance of Forest Owners.  September 8, 2009.