Texas timber is a big business and vital for American’s everyday needs
You may not realize it but forest provide us with much more than building material. In Texas, forestry is big business.
In east Texas, all along the border with Louisiana, there is lush green forestland. This timber rich area is the epicenter of the Texas forestry industry. 60 percent is privately held land and the rest is industrial, with a small portion in state forests.
Rob Hughes, the head of the Texas Forestry Association, states, “The direct impact and the indirect impact of jobs is about 167 thousand jobs with about $36 billion dollars annually.”
The Texas Forestry Museum resides in Lufkin. It pays homage to the humble beginnings and true foresight of America’s tree growers. The forestry forefathers knew they had a renewable resource. They also knew that they needed to make conservation and sustainability a priority.
The lumber mills continue to take in the tress and start the process of transformation. Besides providing building material for new homes and business, wood has a variety of uses in our every day lives.
“Essential products that are made from forests are things like diaper fluff, toilet paper, hand sanitizer wipes, and things like that, paper masks that we’re all using these days,” Hughes adds.
Like other ag sectors, the Texas forestry industry does face challenges, from too much rain at times to too little, federal regulations, and even the emerald ash borer. However, Hughes says that they have learned to balance timber production with conservation.
“In Texas, we have the Pro Logger Program, which is just the training of all the different aspects,” he notes. “Loggers can go through this training, and they learn about effects of what they do on roads, water quality, wildlife...”
Unlike row crops or cattle, timber is an investment for 25-30 years. So those in the lumber business know they must be ready for the long haul in order to keep Americans housed and supplied with those vitally important paper products.