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Forestry generates $21.2B economic impact in S.C.

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The forestry industry makes a $21.2 billion impact of the state’s economy, according to a new report from the S.C. Forestry Commission.

State Forester Scott Phillips, agency head of the commission, announced the economic impact of forestry in South Carolina on Thursday, citing the agency's most recent Economic Impact Analysis for Planning (.pdf).

In detailing the effect that the allied sectors of forestry and forest products-related industries generate on the Palmetto State's economy, Phillips also said that forestry provides more than 98,000 jobs and $4.9 billion in labor income, according to a news release.

"Implan updates are a pulse check on the health of forestry in South Carolina," Tim Adams, Resource Development Division director for the S.C. Forestry Commission and lead author of the economic impact study, said in the release. "Based on this checkup, South Carolina's forest industry has recovered from the Great Recession, and our prognosis is for continued growth."

The pulp and paper industry produces more than the economic footprint of all other sectors combined — solid wood products, timber, logging, forest recreation and furniture — with a contribution of nearly $12.8 billion. Compared with other leading industries in the state, forestry ranks No. 1 in jobs, No. 2 in labor income and No. 3 in direct economic output, the release said.

"Recent announcements and new investments in our industry, along with our strong timberland base, will ensure that forestry will continue to be an important part of South Carolina's growing economy,"  Phillips said in the release. "And while producing all these positive economic impacts, the active management of our forests also produces clean air, clean water, recreational opportunities, wildlife habitat and the beautiful aesthetics that draw people to our state."

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