News Release

Ongoing Forest Service research projects the future of our forests

March 7, 2003 -

USDA Forest Service today released a scientific report on the status of our nation’s forest resources. The knowledge gained will assist Forest Service managers and its partners to maintain and enhance resource conditions and forest health. The report, “An Analysis of the Timber Situation in the United States: 1952-2050,” is the fifth in a series of Forest Service scientific studies on the status and trends of the nation’s forest resources. 

 “Forest Service researchers have been leaders in contributing to the advancement of science and the conservation of our nation’s forests and grasslands for nearly 90 years,” said Robert Lewis, deputy chief for research and development. “This report improves the information available to land managers, the public, government agencies and many other organizations interested in the future of our country’s forests.” Some of the report’s findings and projections for the next 50 years include: 
  • More wood is being grown than harvested nationally, a trend that is expected to continue even as wood production and consumption increase substantially in the U.S.; 
  • U.S. consumption of forest products will increase faster than population growth, but at a slower pace than in recent years, rising 40 percent by 2050; 
  • Imports will satisfy about one-third of the projected increase in U.S. wood and paper products demand; the balance will be supplied by increased timber harvest in the U.S., primarily from softwood plantations in the South; 
  • Paper products and wood composites will capture an increased share of the forest products market, as compared to solid wood products; and 
  • U.S. forests will continue to change in structure and composition, most strikingly in terms of increased age and density of forests on public lands. 
The Forest Service’s research and development branch is the largest forestry research organization in the world and a national and international leader in forest conservation. To learn more about research done by the Forest Service, go to A copy of “An Analysis of the Timber Situation in the United States: 1952-2050,” (PNW-GTR-560) is