Forest Products

Plentiful forest resources

The timber industry has played a major role in Wisconsin’s economy throughout the state’s entire history. In recent years, the industry has evolved to focus on sustainability and responsible environmental stewardship to ensure that Wisconsin’s forests remain both an economic and a recreational resource for generations to come.


In 2015, forest products accounted for 6.7 percent of the state’s exports. These exports totaled $1.5 billion, and traveled to 123 countries around the world, with Canada and Mexico as their top destinations.


Wisconsin produces 5.3 million tons of paper annually, making it the #1 papermaking state in the U.S. Because of this, Wisconsin also has a highly qualified workforce for the sector: the state ranks #1 nationally in employment concentration for paper manufacturing.


The history of forestry education and research is almost as old as the industry itself: forestry instruction has been offered at the University of Wisconsin since 1903. UW-Stevens Point’s Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology provides research, laboratory services and education for business and industry, bringing new ideas and innovation from the university to the private sector. In addition, Wisconsin is home to the Lake Superior Research Institute at UW-Superior.

The national Forest Products Laboratory is the nation’s only federally funded wood utilization research laboratory. Established in Madison in 1910 with a focus on conservation, it has a goal of using the nation’s timber resources efficiently and effectively while keeping forests healthy. Through its research, the laboratory increased the average lumber yield per log from 25 percent to 60 percent. Its wood frame technology is used in over 90 percent of homes in the U.S.