The job numbers are based on the estimate of 250 Mbf (= 500 cd) per man year in logging, trucking,
sawing/splitting and grading. Furthermore, each forest products industry job indirectly creates an additional
.4 job for people supplying goods and services to forest products employees and their families. This is
known as the multiplier effect. The above are the direct and indirect jobs that the timber and wood create in
the local economy and do not include further processing of lumber elsewhere by the industrial materials,
construction, furniture and cabinetry industries. Additional processing increases the number of direct jobs
2-5 times, with high grade hardwood lumber creating the most jobs because it is processed much more than low grade hardwood or softwood.
Jobs from 100 Acres
Here's another way of looking at it. If you own 100 acres which grows 250 bf plus .25 cd/ac/yr, then you
grow 25 Mbf plus 25 cd every year, which is .21 man years of local work every year including the multiplier
effect. If you are growing high grade hardwood (or pruned pine), then you could be creating up to 1.05 full
time jobs because of the additional processing involved and the multiplier effect in goods and services. The calculations for 100 acres are as follows:
Minimal annual local work created from low grade timber and wood:
25 Mbf + 25 Cd = .15 local man years direct work
x 1.4 goods & services multiplier
= .21 man years local work
Optimal annual total work created from high grade hardwood:
.15 local man years x 5 (factor for maximum processing)
= .75 total man years direct work
x 1.4 goods & services multiplier
=1.05 total annual man years
It's clear from the above calculations that there is much potential for job creation in the forest products
industries, especially when you consider that we only harvest about a quarter of the annual growth in
Massachusetts. Extrapolation of the above calculations to the entire state would indicate that employment
in timber related industries could increase from the present 5,000+ in Massachusetts to at least 20,000.
Including the multiplier effect, the total number of jobs created by the timber resource could be 30,000.
This maximum of 30,000 jobs would assume that nearly all (instead of less than 25%) of the annual growth
was harvested and that nearly all the timber was grade material processed into high value added products by
regional businesses (instead being exported or only sawed into rough lumber which represents about 20% of
the total potential processing). The percent of annual growth that is harvested could be increased if more
land was under forest management. The proportion of higher grade timber sustainably produced could be
increased by eliminating the practice of high-grading (cutting only high quality trees) which leaves behind a forest of low quality trees.
There is additional potential for jobs in timber stand improvement (TSI), that is, thinning and pruning of
young stands. Short term TSI jobs create many more long term jobs because they make higher quality
timber, which also earns you a high rate of return on your forest investment. Remember too that you are
producing a renewable resource which fixes carbon (thereby reducing global warming), cleans and cools the air, stabilizes the soil, and provides wildlife habitat.
Our region has the soils, climate and genetic resources capable of producing some of the highest value
timber in the world--a fact which world markets already recognize, as evidenced by the log trucks traveling
north on 1-91. The question is who will benefit from the development and processing of this resource. Will
it be the people of western Massachusetts or will it be people in Europe, the Far East, and elsewhere in the U.S.?