Wood industry

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The wood industry or lumber industry is a—usually privateeconomic sector concerned with forestry, logging, timber trade, and the production of forest products, timber/lumber, primary forest and wood products (e.g. furniture) and secondary products like wood pulp for the pulp and paper industry. Some largest producers are also among the biggest timberland owners.

The wood industry plays a dominating role in today's wood economy.


In the narrow sense of the terms, wood, forest, forestry and timber/lumber industry appear to point to different sectors, in the industrialized, internationalized world, there is a tendency toward huge integrated businesses that cover the complete spectrum from silviculture and forestry in private primary or secondary forests or plantations via the logging process up to wood processing and trading and transport (e.g. timber rafting, forest railways, logging roads).

Processing and products differs especially with regard to the distinction between softwood and hardwood.[1][2][3][4][5] While softwood primarily goes into the production of wood fuel and pulp and paper, hardwood is used mainly for furniture, floors, etc.. Both types can be of use for building and (residential) construction purposes (e.g. log houses, log cabins, timber framing).

Production chain[edit]

After logging, which is now typically done using large harvesters, the trunks of the felled trees are cut in lumber mills.

Top producers[edit]

As of 2019, the top timberland owners in the USA were structured as real-estate investment trusts and include:[6]

In 2008 the largest lumber and wood producers in the USA were[7]

As these companies are often publicly traded, their ultimate owners are a diversified group of investors. There are also timber-oriented real-estate investment trusts.

According to sawmilldatabase, the world top producers of sawn wood in 2007 were:[9]

Company Production or Capacity in m3/yr
West Fraser Timber Co Ltd 8460000
Canfor 6900000
Weyerhaeuser 6449000
Stora Enso 4646000
Georgia Pacific 4300000
Resolute Forest Products 3760000
Interfor 3550000
Sierra Pacific Industries 3200000
Hampton Affiliates[10] 3100000
Arauco 2800000
Tolko Industries Ltd 2500000
Pfeifer Group[11] 2200000



Workers within the Forestry and Logging industry sub-sector fall within the Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting (AFFH) industry sector as characterized by the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS).[12] The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has taken a closer look at the AFFH industry's noise exposures and prevalence of hearing loss. While the overall industry sector had a prevalence of hearing loss lower than the overall prevalence of noise-exposed industries (15% v. 19%), workers within Forestry and Logging exceeded 21%.[13] Thirty-six percent of workers within Forest Nurseries and Gathering of Forest Products, a sub-sector within Forestry and Logging, experienced hearing loss, the most of any AFFH sub-sector. Workers within Forest Nurseries and Gathering of Forest Products are tasked with growing trees for reforestation and gathering products such as rhizomes and barks. Comparatively, non-noise-exposed workers have only a 7% prevalence of hearing loss.[14]

Worker noise exposures in the Forestry and Logging industry have been found to be up to 102 dBA.[15] NIOSH recommends that a worker have an 8 hour time-weighted average of noise exposure of 85 dBA.[16] Excessive noise puts workers at an increased risk of developing hearing loss. If a worker were to develop a hearing loss as a result of occupational noise exposures, it would be classified as occupational hearing loss. Noise exposures within the Forestry and Logging industry can be reduced by enclosing engines and heavy equipment, installing mufflers and silencers, and performing routine maintenance on equipment.[15] Noise exposures can also be reduced through the hierarchy of hazard controls where removal or replacement of noisy equipment serves as the best method of noise reduction.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has found that fatalities of Forestry and Logging workers have increased from 2013 to 2016, up from 81 to 106 per year.[17] In 2016, there were 3.6 cases of injury and illness per 100 workers within this industry.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hardwood Industries - The Pacific Northwest's Source for Hardwood Lumber". Hardwoodind.com.
  2. ^ Government of Canada, Foreign Affairs Trade and Development Canada (3 November 2008). "Softwood Lumber". GAC.
  3. ^ Scott Bowe (June 6, 2012). "Industry Trends and Marketing Strategies for the Hardwood Lumber Industry : Great Lakes Forest, Industry Products, and Resources Summit" (PDF). Sustainabledevelopmentinstitute.org. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  4. ^ "Softwood Lumber, Binational Softwood Lumber Council". Softwoodlumber.org.
  5. ^ Roos, Anders; Flinkman, Matti; Jäppinen, Armas; Lönner, Göran; Warensjö, Mats (2001). "Production strategies in the Swedish softwood sawmilling industry". Forest Policy and Economics. 3 (3–4): 189–197. doi:10.1016/S1389-9341(01)00063-6.
  6. ^ "Timberland REITs | Nareit". www.reit.com. Retrieved 2019-09-02.
  7. ^ "America's Largest Private Companies -- Industry is Lumber, Wood Production sorted by Rank". Forbes.com.
  8. ^ "America's Largest Private Companies: #425 North Pacific Group". Forbes.com.
  9. ^ "The World's Top Producers - The Sawmill Database". Sawmilldatabase.com.
  10. ^ "Home - Hampton Lumber". Hampton Lumber.
  11. ^ "Pfeifer Group • Holzverarbeitung • Export in 90 Länder". Pfeifergroup.com.
  12. ^ ESMD, US Census Bureau Classification Development Branch. "US Census Bureau Site North American Industry Classification System main page". Census.gov. Retrieved 2018-08-12.
  13. ^ Masterson, Elizabeth A.; Themann, Christa L.; Calvert, Geoffrey M. (January 2018). "Prevalence of hearing loss among noise-exposed workers within the agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting sector, 2003-2012". American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 61 (1): 42–50. doi:10.1002/ajim.22792. ISSN 1097-0274. PMC 5905332. PMID 29152771.
  14. ^ Masterson, Elizabeth A.; Themann, Christa L.; Luckhaupt, Sara E.; Li, Jia; Calvert, Geoffrey M. (2016-01-28). "Hearing difficulty and tinnitus among U.S. workers and non-workers in 2007". American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 59 (4): 290–300. doi:10.1002/ajim.22565. ISSN 0271-3586. PMID 26818136.
  15. ^ a b Pyykkö, I.; Koskimies, K.; Starck, J.; Pekkarinen, J.; Färkkilä, M.; Inaba, R. (July 1989). "Risk factors in the genesis of sensorineural hearing loss in Finnish forestry workers". British Journal of Industrial Medicine. 46 (7): 439–446. doi:10.1136/oem.46.7.439. ISSN 0007-1072. PMC 1009807. PMID 2765417.
  16. ^ "NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search - 20000050 - Criteria for a recommended standard... occupational noise exposure, revised criteria 1998". Cdc.gov. Retrieved 2018-08-12.
  17. ^ "Industries at a Glance: Forestry and Logging: NAICS 113". Bls.gov. Retrieved 2018-08-12.

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