There are 53 million acres of land within Idaho's borders and 22.3 million acres, or 42 percent are covered by forests. That's larger than the states of New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts combined. Timber is one of the most important and valuable commodities produced in Idaho. The estimated sales value of Idaho's primary wood and paper products for 2005 was $1.69 billion. The industry employs 16,000 people in Idaho. About one billion board feet of timber is cut in Idaho every year, mostly from state and private land.
Forest products is the largest industry in the Idaho Panhandle. A wide variety of wood products including building materials and paper products are manufactured in Idaho. There are eight major softwood tree species that are grown and harvested for commercial value in Idaho. As a class, softwoods are lightweight and flexible yet strong and easy to saw, plane and nail. Softwoods are ideal for home construction and their long, strong fibers make excellent paper products. Trees harvested for commercial value in Idaho include lodgepole pine, western hemlock, western larch (also called tamarack), western white pine (Idaho's state tree), Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, western redcedar and grand fir. For more information on Idaho's timber and paper industries go to www.idahoforests.org.