MONTPELIER (AP) - The state's forestry industry contributed about $3.4 billion to the state's economy in 2012 and helped sustain about 20,600 jobs, the Vermont Department of Forest, Parks and Recreation said Monday when it released a report it produced with the North East State Foresters Association.

The report based its economic and job estimates on the direct production of the forest products industry such as firewood, lumber, furniture, maple syrup and Christmas trees. It used an economic multiplier to reach the final figures, the report said.

"Forest-based manufacturing and forest-related recreation and tourism are significant drivers for our economy," Vermont State Forester Steven Sinclair said in a statement released with the report.

The forests also help provide clean water, carbon storage, and wildlife habitat while providing the backdrop for recreation and tourism in Vermont.

The report found that manufacturing jobs in Vermont's wood products businesses have declined over the past decade, the harvest of timber from Vermont has stayed relatively stable.

About 80 percent of Vermont forests are owned by individuals and families.

"When you buy Vermont wood, you really are buying local," Sinclair said.


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