Forest Products Week salutes Wisconsin’s working forests

Weekly News Article Published: October 18, 2016 by the Central Office

MADISON – With 17.1 million acres of trees covering nearly half of the state, Wisconsin has good reason to celebrate its forests during National Forest Products Week, which runs from October 16-22.

In 1960, Congress designated the third week of October as National Forest Products Week as a time to recognize the many products that come from our forests, the people who work in and care for our forests, the businesses that make forest products and the ways in which forest products contribute to our lives.

Steve Hubbard, forest products services team leader with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, said National Forest Products Week provides a time to recognize and celebrate the things people use and enjoy that come from trees. While many Wisconsin residents recognize that forests play an essential part in the state’s history, culture and environment, many people do not realize the economic contributions of forests.

From paper products such as food packaging, fine writing paper and tissue paper, to lumber used for homes and furniture, the products made by the forest products companies in Wisconsin contribute $24.7 billion annually to the state’s economy.

“Our forests directly provide 64,896 jobs for Wisconsin residents with a payroll of $3.7 billion,” Hubbard said. “And every job in forestry supports 1.7 additional jobs in the state.”

Wisconsin’s forests are renewable and vital resources when sustainably managed, Hubbard said. DNR’s forest products services team works to help build strong markets for forest products while ensuring that forests remain healthy for future generations.

Beyond providing shelter for wildlife and oxygen for us to breathe, forests contribute to more than 5,000 products we use every day. From paints to tires, tree-based chemicals and wood byproducts are all around us.

Have you eaten a tree today? While Wisconsin residents love the state’s maple syrup and apples, cellulose from trees is often added to ice cream and bread. Cellulose powder is sometimes used to help keep grated Parmesan cheese pieces from caking together. Cellulose products also thicken cough syrups and other liquid oral medicines.

“A century ago Wisconsin’s forests helped build the Midwest,” Hubbard said. “Innovative research is now focused on new ways to use wood, from skyscrapers built with wood to cellulosic ethanol for cars to tiny cellulose nanocrystals used to strengthen materials. Our past, present, and future are tied to wood products – thanks to technology, innovation and the fact that trees are a renewable and sustainable resource.”