Economic Contributions of the Forest Industry and Forest-based Recreation in Florida in 2016

Economic Contributions of the Florida Forest Industry and Forest-based Recreation in 2016 from UF/IFAS, Food and Resource Economics Department


The state of Florida has 17.16 million acres (26,807 square miles) of forestland, representing 50% of the state’s total land area. The state has extensive natural and planted pine and hardwood forests that are commercially utilized for production of a wide variety of wood building materials, consumer paper and packaging products, chemicals, and renewable biomass fuels. Nearly two-thirds of Florida’s forestlands are privately owned by industry, corporations, families, or individuals. About 16 million tons of softwood and hardwood pulpwood and sawtimber, valued at around $315 million, is harvested annually from Florida forests. In 2016, over 3 million metric tons of Florida forest products, valued at $1.80 billion, were exported to international destinations. In addition to industrial forest-related activity, public forestlands in Florida support a variety of recreational activities and attract a significant number of recreational visitors. National Forests, State Forests, and Wildlife Management Areas in Florida cover a total of 3.70 million acres and amassed a total of 6.93 million visitor-days in 2015.

This study analyzed the economic contributions of the forest industry and forest-based recreation activities to the state of Florida in 2016, updating a previous study sponsored by the Florida Forestry Association (Hodges et al., 2005). A regional economic model (IMPLAN©) was used to estimate the total economic contributions of the forest industry using data on direct employment in 32 industry sectors, including specific sectors for forestry production, primary wood products manufacturing, secondary wood products manufacturing, primary paper products manufacturing, converted paper products manufacturing, forest chemical products manufacturing, allied manufacturing of sawmill/woodworking/paper machinery, wholesale trade in lumber and wood products, and biomass electric power generation. Total economic contributions associated with forest-based recreation activities were estimated using data on recreational spending by nonresident visitors to Florida’s 3 National Forests, 37 State Forests, and 54 Wildlife Management Areas.

In 2016, the forest industry sectors directly employed 36,055 persons (fulltime and part-time jobs) and collected $12.55 billion in industry revenues. Total economic contributions for all forest industry groups were estimated at 124,104 fulltime and part-time jobs, $25.05 billion in industry output or revenues, $10.96 billion in value added (Gross State Product), $6.58 billion in labor income (employee wages, salaries, benefits, business owner income), $880 million in state and local government tax revenues, and $1.72 billion in federal government tax revenues. Total economic contributions of forest-based recreational spending by nonresident visitors were estimated at 7,818 jobs, $851 M in industry output, $505 M in value added, $48 M in state and local tax revenues, and $80 M in federal tax revenues.

Florida forests also provide many non-marketed environmental or ecosystem services such as surface and groundwater storage, air and water purification, atmospheric carbon storage, mitigation of droughts and floods, stabilization of climate and moderation of extreme weather events, generation and preservation of soils, detoxification and decomposition of wastes, cycling and movement of nutrients, control of agricultural pests, provision of wildlife habitat, and maintenance of biodiversity. Although these ecosystem services were not explicitly quantified in this study, secondary sources were compiled that suggest a value of approximately $24 to $32 billion annually.

Download the 2016 Florida Forestry Contributions Fact Sheet

Download the Full Florida Forest Industry Report (2016)

Download the Forest Industry Report Executive Summary (2016)

Forest Industry Contributions 2016 Infographic

Economic Contributions of the Forest Industry and Forest-based Recreation in Florida, September 2017, Alan W. Hodges, Christa D. Court, Mohammad Rahmani