In this rapidly modernizing world, Forests are still extremely important in our lives as it was in the ancient days. You would be surprised to know that majority of the things that we are using today on a regular basis comes directly or indirectly from the forest. Even if the world is modernizing rapidly and cities are growing in numbers, there are industries like forest products that are solely dependent on raw materials that come directly from forests. Forest products today are a global industry, and these products have become essential for the survival of humans today. We know that forests supply hundreds of products for people’s daily lives; hence, the industry is really busy and always in high demand.
Are you recently about to consider forest products as your career path? Do you still have a few questions in mind and want to be very sure before taking the biggest career decision of your life? Then follow this article till the end to know everything in detail about the forest products industry, and find out if it is really worth choosing this career path.
1. About Forest Products Industry
Let’s begin with getting to know the forest products industry in detail before jumping into important topics. The forest products industry is global, capital-intensive, and can be internally competitive for resources. According to the American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA), the U.S. forest products industry employs about one million workers and accounts for approximately six percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP. Now you can imagine how huge this industry actually is! This industry is also among the top ten manufacturing sector employers in 48 states and generates over $200 billion a year in sales and about $54 billion in annual payroll so, working here is actually going to be rewarding.
The main purpose of the forest products industry is to extract raw materials from nature and convert them into products that can be consumed and used directly by people. It is actually because of the forest products industry that forests are still alive, and forestry is still prevailing, and it will continue to exist as long as forests are nurtured and left undisturbed. In a world where the fastest growing population is resulting in deforestation and global warming, it is only the forest products industry that understands the value of forests on the planet and is continuing to help them stay alive. After centuries, when there would be no more forests, almost everything that humans use today is going to vanish too. So you can understand how important forests are for every living being in this forest, and how much the forest products industry is dependent on it.
2. Importance of Forest Products Industry in the Modern World
The importance of forests in today’s world cannot be underestimated. From the cozy bed you sleep into your fancy closets, sofas, and whatnot, everything directly or indirectly comes from forests. Since ancient times, forests have always been a major source of human food, and it continues to be the same in this 21st century; without forests, the world can literally end in a single day. Although the fact that forests are being used is very high as compared to the rate at which trees are being planted, but many measures are still being taken to prevent deforestation.
In the 21st century, the Forest Products industry still continues to provide natural products to people in the form they like. From the sweetest honey you love to top your cereals with or the luxurious sofa made of the finest timber you take pride in, it is because of the forest products industry that you get to buy and use things of your choice. The forest products industry is usually engaged in growing, harvesting, and processing wood and wood fiber, manufacturing pulp, paper, and paperboard products from both virgin and recycled fiber, and producing engineered and traditional wood products. There are also some natural edible extracts that these industries convert into consumable products such as honey, natural oils, wine, and so much more.
3. Is Forest Products a Right Career Path?
Now comes the most important question, is it really worth choosing the forest products industry as your ideal career path? And the answer is, “yes,” it definitely is. From the annual turnover of the forest products industry to the demand for employment, this industry is not only rewarding, but is ideal for those who love nature, have taken degrees in programs related to forestry, and those who would love to work in an industry that involves forests and natural products.
4. Types of Forest Products
You must be curious what type of products actually this industry produces; find out from the list below:
- Natural Honey
- Wild Meat
- Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Palm Oil, and many more
- Wood and Timber Products
- Wood Raw Material
- Swan Hardwood
- Paperboard, Paper and Wood Pulp
- Balsa Wood
- Rattan, Cane, and Raffia
- Fuel Wood
- Medical and dietary supplements
Do you realize by now how important the forest products industry is? Let’s find out more important things about this industry in the next topics.
5. Can Forest Products Be Classified?
Yes, the industries of forest products can be classified into different types; each of these types serves a different purpose and have an equally important role.
- Natural and Edible Products- These industries mainly produce and manufacture products that are either consumed or come into daily use by people, including honey, wine, oils, wild meat, and so on. Working here is much like you see in the “Food Factory” show on the Discovery Channel.
- Pulp, Paper & Packaging- these industries are responsible for extracting raw materials from forests, converting them into pulp, and then into paper sheets. The packaging industry is largely dependent on papers and cardboard produced by these industries.
- Wood Products- all the fancy wooden furniture that makes your home look stylish and luxurious comes from the forests. Logs of woods are transformed into shiny and attractive furniture with the help of advanced technology.
- Timber&Lumbers: are primary construction materials for homes and other low-rise buildings; they are also used for building boats, stringed instruments, woodwinds, and furniture. It begins with sawing tree trunks into rectangular pieces, then they are chemically treated and go through all the required processes to be finally sold into markets.
- Glued Products: Glued Products are made using layers of woods Plywood, Veneer are some examples.
6. Types of Jobs
There are various job positions available in the forest products industry that are paid decently and include some of the most interesting job roles. Here are some of the most popular job positions:
- Forestry Technicians
- Groundwater Professionals
- Land Trust or Preserve Managers
- Landscapers and Grounds Managers
- Logging Industry Workers
- National Park Service Employees
- Paper Processing Workers
- Soil Conservationists and Technicians
- Soil Scientists
- Wood Science and Technology Workers
And so many others to choose from and work closely with forests.
7. Educational Qualification
When it comes to educational qualification, to be honest, there are job openings for every kind of student. You can be a high school graduate or a graduate, a post-graduate; as long as you have a relevant degree required for your job role, there’s no problem at all. Students pursuing their degrees or certifications related to Forestry and other relevant programs have a high chance of getting established in the forest products industry. Some students also choose to research some vital issues of the forest products industry to bring scientific solutions.
8. Employment and Salary
As discussed before, when it comes to employment opportunities, there are actually numerous openings every year. The forest products industry provides jobs in all 50 states, and over 900,000 people are employed directly by the forest products industry on average. The average median salary of employees in the forest products industry is around $60,000, which is quite high compared to other industries. Some positions are highly paid as well, including engineers and managers.
9. How the Paper and Forest-Products Industry Thrives in the Digital Age?
In this digitally advanced world, you might be wondering whether it will be really worth working in an industry that relies largely on wood and paper. Although most of the things have been replaced by digital advancements, from cash to online payments, letters to WhatsApp messages, books to Kindle, written examinations to online ones, but there are still a plethora of tasks that require papers, including official works, court works, medical prescriptions and so much more. Even if the world goes on to digitalize even more in the upcoming future, the demand for papers and the forest products industry will never actually go down. It will continue to prevail in the long run as long as we humans live on this planet and forests are alive.
10. Final Thoughts
You must have got some good enough reasons to stick to your decision to work in the Forest Products industry. Not only working in this industry is something different from mainstream jobs, but also, you get a chance to work closely with forests, understand their worth, and explore some unique job opportunities that you won’t come across elsewhere.