South Carolina’s forestry industry takes hit from COVID-19

By Lee Wardlaw, Cola Daily

Commercial Forestry is a multi-billion dollar industry in South Carolina, providing a $21.2 billion economic impact, 98,000 jobs, and $5 billion in labor incomes for resident employees, according to a South Carolina Forestry Commission report.

Tree farming also promotes clean air, clean water, and the future health of forests across the state.

“I believe South Carolina’s forested acres have a priceless intrinsic value that is enhanced by aesthetics, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities,” said John Hane, senior forester at Columbia-based Milliken Forestry. Hane, who has been employed at Milliken since 1999, provides forest asset management, environmental, real estate, and hunting lease services.

Forestry has provided a livelihood for thousands of South Carolinians and has even made some residents quite wealthy, but the industry is currently struggling, according to Hane. “Forestry is similar to many industries. It goes in cycles,” he said.