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Ohio State University Extension


Athens County’s Forest Economy

Agriculture and Natural Resources
Eric McConnell, Ph.D., Forest Operations and Products Specialist, Ohio State University Extension
Hal Kneen, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension, Athens County

Athens County contains 503 square miles (322,300 acres) of land and is home to 64,300 citizens[1]. There are 163 industries in the county[2], with the median household earning an income of $33,500[1]. Major employers include businesses in the sectors of state and local governments, food services, health care, and real estate[2].

Figure 1. Forest industries contribute 0.48% to Athens County's economy[2,3].

The land resources of Athens County provide many economic benefits. The county's 570 agricultural farms produce horticultural and agronomic crops, dairy and milk products, and cattle and calves, among others[3]. An abundance of wooded acres are also present, providing community support to the county's forest industries. These businesses generate $12.1 million in industrial output and $443,000 in taxes[2].

Some of the many contributions Athens County's forests and forest industries provide to the local economy are illustrated in this fact sheet using key figures and statistics. Figures 2–4, describing Athens County's forest resources, were constructed using data from the 2011 forest survey database provided by the United States Forest Service's Forest Inventory and Analysis. Figures 5–8 explain the county's forest industries and were developed from data analyzed using IMPLAN®. Table 1 summarizes the IMPLAN® model for Athens County's economy. (For more information regarding IMPLAN® and the economic impact analyses for Athens County, please contact the first author in the School of Environment and Natural Resources.)

Benefits of Woodland Management

  • Properly managing your woodland improves forest health, aesthetics, and wildlife habitat. It also provides soil stabilization, clean water, self-satisfaction, and a potential source of income.
  • Managing timber requires less long-term inputs compared to many other land uses.
  • You are often able to obtain cost share funds to establish your woodland, property tax credits while managing your forest property, and preferable tax treatment at harvest.
  • Standing timber is a stable form of wealth, often comparable in performance to mutual fund investments.

How Can I Learn to Better Manage My Woodland?

  • Become actively involved in the stewardship of your property.
  • Join your local forestry association.
  • Search Ohio State University Extension's website Ohioline for further study of forestry related topics.
  • Contact your local service forester at the Ohio Division of Forestry to help you develop a management plan for your property.
  • Obtain soils information for trees suited to your soil types at your local Soil and Water Conservation District.
  • Enlist the assistance of a professional forester when planning a timber sale.
  • Consider hiring an Ohio Master Logging Company to conduct your harvesting operation.

Figure 2. Athens County contains 240,000 forested acres, which is 75.7% of the total land cover[1,5]. Figure 3. Athens County's forestland is 81.0% privately owned, over 196,000 acres[5].

Figure 4. Athens County contains 1.8 billion board feet of sawtimber[5]. The top five species make up 66.1% of the total volume. Figure 5. Athens County's farmland and forestland production, 2010[2,3]. This figure does not include harvests from government lands.

Figure 6. Direct economic impact of Athens County’s forest industries, 2010[2]. Labor income, value-added, and industrial output are represented on the left Y-axis, and employment is represented on the right Y-axis. Figure 7. Athens County's forest industry employers by sector, 2010[2]. A (----) indicates less than five employees to prevent potential disclosure of individual company information.

Figure 8. Direct tax impact of Athens County's forest industries, 2010[2].

For More Information, Please Consult the Following Sources

School of Environment and Natural Resources
The Ohio State University
2021 Coffey Rd.
Columbus, OH 43210
Phone: (614) 688-3421
Ohio State University Extension, Athens County
280 West Union St.
Athens, OH 45701
Phone: (740) 593-8555
Fax: (740) 592-1113
Ohio Division of Forestry
360 East State St.
Athens, OH 45701
Phone: (740) 589-9909
Fax: (740) 589-9929
Athens County Soil and Water Conservation District
69 South Plains Rd.
The Plains, OH 45780
Phone: (740) 797-9686
Fax: (740) 797-9079
Ohio Society of American Foresters 
Ohio Forestry Association
Master Logging Company Program
Office: 746 Morrison Rd., Columbus, OH 43230
Mail: 1100-H Brandywine Blvd.
Zanesville, OH 43701
Phone: (614) 497-9580
Fax: (614) 497-9581
Call Before You Cut
Phone: (877) 424-8288


Acre: A unit of land measure equal to 43,560 square feet (208.7 feet X 208.7 feet). One square mile equals 640 acres.

Direct Economic Impact: The effect generated by the industry of interest in an economic impact analysis. This is measured through employment, value-added, and industrial output produced to meet demand for the manufactured product(s).

Direct Federal Tax Impact: Taxes collected by the United States government. These taxes are generated from labor income, indirect business taxes, households, and corporations associated with the industry of interest.

Direct State and Local Tax Impact: Taxes paid to state, county, and municipal governments. These taxes are generated from labor income, indirect business taxes, households, and corporations associated with the industry of interest.

Employment: The total wage and salary and self-employed jobs in a geographical area.

Indirect Business Taxes: Sales and excise taxes paid by individuals to businesses through normal operations. They do not include taxes on corporate profits and dividends.

Industrial Output: The total value of production measured as the sum of value-added plus the cost of buying goods and services to produce the product(s).

Labor Income: Wages and benefits paid to employees plus proprietary income for self-employed work.

Sawtimber Volume: Net volume in board feet by the International 1/4-inch rule of sawlogs in sawtimber trees on timberland. Gross volume minus the deductions that affect use for lumber equals net volume.

Value-Added: The sum of labor income, interest, profits, and indirect business taxes.

Table 1. Direct industrial contributions within Athens County’s economy, 2010[2]. The IMPLAN® model’s 440 sectors were aggregated into 12 industries by each sector’s 2-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code number. A (----) indicates less than five employees or a value less than $500,000 to prevent potential disclosure of individual company information.

Industry NAICS Description Employment Labor Income Value Added Industrial Output
11 Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting 403 $2,781,243 $5,751,026 $19,873,438
     113 Forestry and Logging (----) (----) (----) (----)
21 Mining 264 $15,414,982 $32,726,981 $48,615,303
22 Utilities 83 $8,644,362 $34,837,643 $48,348,271
23 Construction 1,770 $30,718,622 $47,487,431 $168,388,926
31–33 Manufacturing 605 $34,163,430 $54,169,816 $202,481,512
     321 Wood Products Manufacturing 66 $1,576,518 $2,225,032 $9,357,054
     322 Paper Manufacturing (----) (----) (----) (----)
     337 Wood Furniture Manufacturing 28 (----) (----) $2,600,755
42 Wholesale Trade 413 $16,861,264 $38,863,411 $53,182,808
44–45 Retail Trade 3,527 $92,113,075 $131,803,913 $200,536,628
48–49 Transportation and Warehousing 269 $10,709,667 $14,499,379 $28,607,942
51–56 Professional Services 3,689 $101,305,234 $376,179,223 $607,146,930
61–72 Educational, Health, and Recreation Services 6,636 $160,338,934 $198,588,138 $381,113,305
81 Other Services 1,284 $38,712,897 $41,482,127 $84,732,424
92 Government and non-NAICS Industries 10,491 $573,517,391 $640,020,900 $669,073,444
      Forest Industries 96 $2,061,893 $2,587,545 $12,079,995
Total 29,434 $1,085,281,100 $1,616,409,989 $2,512,100,933


[1] United States Census. 2013. United States Census state and county quick facts.

[2] Minnesota IMPLAN Group. 2012. 2010 Ohio state and national package database. MIG, Inc., Hudson, WI.

[3] United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service. 2010. Ohio county summaries.

[4] United States Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis. 2013. Northeast Forest Inventory and Analysis Methodology: Common definitions used by FIA.

[5] United States Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis Database. 2013. Athens County 2011 forest survey database.

[6] Minnesota IMPLAN Group. 2004. IMPLAN Professional®: Users Guide, Analysis Guide, Data Guide. 3rd edition. MIG, Inc.

Originally posted Aug 30, 2013.