Rhode Island’s forests and trees may seem like a green backdrop to our state landscape, but they are in fact hard at work generating a wide range of services and values. We depend on forests for the clean air we breathe and the wood we use. Forests are a place where humans and native wildlife can live and thrive by providing habitats for animals and livelihoods for humans. They also offer watershed protection, prevent soil erosion and mitigate climate change. Forest conservation brings economic benefits to Rhode Island cities and towns. The forest and wood products sector generated nearly 2,500 jobs with $408 million in gross sales in 2016, while forest-based outdoor recreation contributes over $720 million annually to Rhode Island’s economy. Funded by a grant from the US Forest Service, a detailed 2019 report on The Value of Rhode Island’s Forests outlines the benefits the state’s forests provide and offers a range of potential strategies to encourage forest conservation. A brief executive summary of the report summarizes these findings and strategies.
Also published in 2019, a report based on research conducted by URI provides a snapshot of the economic impact of Rhode Island’s forestry and wood products sector.