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The Timber Industry – Pine Plantations Quietly Take Over South Carolina's Economy

Published May 01, 2016

South Carolina’s most valuable agricultural crop is timber. Forest product industries have an estimated impact of more than $18 billion in the state according to the South Carolina Forestry Commission.

Other signs of the economic force of forestry include:

  • Annual value of harvested trees is $759 million
  • Forest industries employ more than 90,000 people in the state making it South Carolina’s top manufacturer
  • Wood-derived products are the top exported commodity with a value of $1.5 billion in 2014

It’s an entire economic system in South Carolina. Two-thirds of the state’s land area is in forests, and 88 percent of that forest land is owned by private landowners. There are about 200,000 landowners who own forests in South Carolina, with the average holding size being 80 acres. For many of them, timber is an important part of their livelihood.

Continued exports of logs through the Port of Charleston to markets in India and China, wood pellet exports to the northeast United States and Europe, and the development of cross laminated timber are all contributing to the continued growth of the timber industry in South Carolina.

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Category: South Carolina