PUBLIC TIMBER SALES: Good for Everyone

Of all the forestland in Minnesota, 60 percent is managed by county, state and federal agencies. This accounts for 10 million acres.
The remaining 40 percent, or 7 million acres, is owned by private landowners.

How a Timber Sale Happens

• With the assistance of professional foresters and natural resource experts, plans are made about how to manage forestland owned by county, state or federal governments, as well as determine which areas are appropriate to harvest.

• The timber on these lands is then put up for sale at a public auction. Loggers and forest products companies bid on the timber and the sale is awarded to the highest bidder.

• Once harvested, this public forestland is then regenerated naturally, replanted or seeded to allow new forests to grow.

Who Benefits From Public Timber Sales?

• These public timber sales have a significant economic impact on local, regional and state economies. Over the past decade, these programs have: generated timber sales revenues of over $85,000,000; generated $450,000,000 of economic activity; and provided over 7,950 jobs.

• In the case of state Permanent School Trust Fund lands, the profits from timber sales are deposited into a trust and used to help fund our schools.

The Impact of Declining Public Timber Sales

• The amount of timber sold from public agencies has decreased over the past decade, pushing more harvesting activity onto private lands. The most significant decreases are from state and federal lands.

• Unrealized regional and local economic activity from the reductions of planned harvest levels on public land is estimated at $83 million and 1,450 jobs annually.

• As our society continues to demand and use forest products, we must rely more on imported wood and wood products from countries that do not always adhere to the high standards of forest management that we do here in Minnesota and the United States. In fact, restrictions on public timber sales have contributed to a 230 percent increase in wood prices over the past 10 years.

• Besides the loss of economic benefit to local communities and schools in areas where harvesting is not allowed to occur, our forests are becoming unnaturally old. This has a negative impact on wildlife species and makes our forests more susceptible to fire, insects and disease.

Harvesting our forests provides an orderly way to create habitat for wildlife species that depend on younger forests, such as beaver, moose, deer and many birds. It also gives us the wood products we rely on every day and provides jobs and economic impact to our state and local economies.