About Our Forests
North Carolina's forest land is one of the greatest influences on the state providing great economic value and adding immeasurably to the quality of life for its citizens. North Carolina ranks fourth in terms of total forested acreage. Our forests cover more than 18.3 million acres, approximately 57% of the state's total land area. The majority of the state's forested land, some 13.8 million acres, is in non-industrial private ownership, while approximately 1.1 million acres are in national forests.
North Carolina's forests are among the state's most important natural resources. Our forests are prized for their scenic beauty, sporting tourism, and outdoor recreation. North Carolina forests provide diverse wildlife habitat from the Appalachian Mountains to the lowlands of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Because of this diversity, our state is home to an incredible number of plant and animal species, including an amazing number of salamander species found no place else on earth. Major forest types in the state include oak-hickory, loblolly-shortleaf pine, oak-pine, oak-gum-cypress, and longleaf-slash pine which after historic lows, is now increasing again in North Carolina.
Our forests are also an important economic resource - over 60% of North Carolina's forests are commercial forest land, capable of producing marketable timber for its more than 300,000 landowners. Forestry is the second largest industry in the state, contributing nearly $3.2 billion annually to the state's economy and providing 144,000 jobs for North Carolinians.