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Ohio State University Extension


Belmont County’s Forest Economy

Agriculture and Natural Resources
Eric McConnell, Ph.D., Forest Operations and Products Specialist, Ohio State University Extension
Stephen Schumacher, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension, Belmont County

Belmont County contains 532 square miles (340,480 acres) of land and is home to 70,400 citizens[1]. There are 158 industries in the county[2], with the median household earning an income of $38,320. Major employers include businesses in the sectors of food services, state and local governments, private hospitals, and nursing and residential care facilities[2].

Figure 1. Forest industries contribute 0.42% to Belmont County's economy[3].

The land resources of Belmont County provide many economic benefits. The county's 660 agricultural farms produce cattle and calves, dairy and milk, and oats and hay, among others[3]. An abundance of wooded acres are also present, providing community support to the county's forest industries. These businesses generate $14.4 million in industrial output and $959,000 in taxes[2].

Some of the many contributions Belmont 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 Belmont County's forest resources, were constructed using data from the 2010 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 Belmont County's economy. (For more information regarding IMPLAN® and the economic impact analyses for Belmont 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 and manage 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. 
  • Contact your local service forester with the Ohio Division of Forestry to help you develop a management plan for your property.
  • Obtain soils information from 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. Belmont County contains approximately 220,000 forested acres, more than 60% of the total land cover[1, 4]. Figure 3. Belmont County's forests are 85.3% privately owned, over 180,000 acres[4].

Figure 4. Belmont County's forests contain 950 million board feet of sawtimber[4]. The top five species make up 51.5% of the total volume. Figure 5. Belmont County's farmland and woodland production, 2010[2, 3].

Figure 6. Direct economic impact of Belmont 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. Belmont 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 Belmont 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 Road
Columbus, OH 43210
Phone: (614) 688-3421
Fax: (614) 292-7432
Ohio State University Extension, Belmont County
101 North Market St., Suite A
Saint Clairsville, OH 43950
Phone: (740) 695-1455
Fax: (740) 695-5614
Ohio Division of Forestry
2050 East Wheeling Ave.
Cambridge, OH 43725-2159
Phone: (740) 439-9079
Fax: (740) 432-7711
Belmont County Soil and Water Conservation District
101 North Market St., Suite D
Saint Clairsville, OH 43950
Phone: (740) 526-0027
Fax: (740) 695-5614
Ohio Society of American Foresters
Ohio Forestry Association
Office: 746 Morrison Road, 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

Terminology[5, 6]

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 U.S. 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 Belmont 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 437 $7,482,299 $9,967,018 $31,704,581
     113 Forestry and Logging 43 $2,468,691 $2,437,441 $4,784,870
21 Mining 1,232 $141,176,585 $272,667,735 $409,361,123
22 Utilities 183 $19,734,990 $81,785,975 $95,841,747
23 Construction 1,624 $61,712,024 $77,090,932 $187,966,945
31–33 Manufacturing 1,029 $60,415,538 $94,138,430 $446,139,089
     321 Wood Products Manufacturing 11 $826,694 $964,736 $1,816,497
     322 Pulp and Paper Manufacturing 21 $1,173,087 $1,566,641 $7,557,686
     337 Wood Furniture Manufacturing (----) (----) (----) (----)
42 Wholesale Trade 641 $35,786,500 $69,957,974 $92,197,388
44–45 Retail Trade 4,819 $111,790,314 $167,254,949 $262,721,210
48–49 Transportation and Warehousing 793 $42,336,764 $56,056,140 $100,771,504
51–56 Professional Services 5,905 $148,384,849 $593,921,530 $931,380,728
61–72 Educational, Health, and Recreation Services 7,957 $207,842,446 $252,632,059 $487,253,184
81 Other Services 1,728 $43,526,775 $45,874,489 $103,505,663
92 Government & non-NAICS Industries 4,478 $202,302,214 $231,894,395 $262,514,171
      Forest Industries 77 $4,563,580 $5,053,587 $14,435,955
Total 30,825 $1,082,491,298 $1,953,241,628 $3,411,357,335


[1] United States Census. 2010. United States census 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. 2012. 2010 Ohio county summaries.

[4] United States Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis Database. 2012. Belmont County 2010 forest survey database.

[5] United States Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis. 2012. Northeast Forest Inventory and Analysis Methodology: Common definitions used by FIA.

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

We thank Liza Butler, Wildlife/Forestry Specialist, Belmont County SWCD, and Bobby Ammerman and Billy Thomas, University of Kentucky, for kindly reviewing this fact sheet.

Originally posted Dec 3, 2012.