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Michigan sees $3 billion increase in forestry in 2019

Gene Gallin

Half of Michigan’s land is covered by forest. And a lot of wood products from the state are made here at home, which drives up their value.

That’s according to Jagdish Poudel (jahg-DEESH poh-DUHL), forest economist with the DNR. He said low exports in these industries help drive up jobs and aid the state’s economy.

"Overall, it is driven by the demand of the consumer," Poudel said. "Ultimately, companies producing these products and all the background linkages of the industry. So that’s why they’re doing really well, and it shows that economy in Michigan is doing really great as well."

But he said the pandemic did have a significant impact. Up to fifteen percent of both jobs and economic value were lost.

“We think it will take a while to recover that," Poudel said. "But because we have a strong foundation of these industries—we have built really strong linkages into Michigan--from the long-term perspective I do see the positive power.”

Poudel says climate change is a wild card for the industry. But once the pandemic passes, he says Michigan’s forestry economy should continue to grow.

Ben Jodway is an intern, serving as a reporter for WCMU Public Media and the Pioneer in Big Rapids. He has covered Indigenous communities and political extremism in Michigan.