Forests cover 19 million acres, or 56 percent of the state, and contain 11.8 billion trees. During the 1950s and 60s, Arkansas lost almost 20 percent of its forestland. However, since 1978, forestland has increased by more than 1 million acres.
The 2015 forest survey period showed an average annual increase in pine timber growth and a decrease in the amount removed. The five-year average for growth of pine timber is 25.1 million tons with 15.6 million tons being removed from Arkansas forests. Hardwood statistics in the state are similar to pine timber, with growth being greater than removal of timber on a five-year average. The growth of hardwood is 13.7 million tons with the removal of 8.2 million tons from 2011 through 2015.
Arkansas Forestry Facts
- More than half of the state is forested.
- 42 percent of all woodland is made up of oak/hickory forest types, followed by loblolly/shortleaf pine at 29 percent.
- Private landowners -- including farmers, ranchers, and other individuals -- own over 58 percent of the timberland in the state and many actively manage their woodlands.
- National Forests account for 13 percent of Arkansas's total forested acreage.
- Forest resource companies own or lease 23 percent of the state's timberland.
- The forest products industry, including the pulp and paper industry, were responsible for 64,789 jobs in 2011, representing labor income of $3.6 billion.
- Arkansas forests provide habitat to a host of wildlife species. These range from game species, such as deer, turkey, and ducks, to songbirds for wildlife viewing, and many reptiles and amphibians.
- The Southwest, Ozark, and Ouachita regions contain 88 percent of the forestland in the state. The most heavily forested County is Dallas (94 percent) and the least forested is Mississippi County (5 percent).
- Most of the forest in the state is a hardwood timber type. About half of the pine forests are plantations.
- Arkansas contains the largest National Forest area in the South with 2.5 million acres within the Ozark-St. Francis and Ouachita National Forests.
The breakdown of Arkansas forestland ownership is as follows:
- Private – 69%
- National Forests – 13%
- Other Public – 6%
- Industrial – 12%