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The U.S. has approximately the same amount of forested land today as it had 100 years ago. Although economically vital to landowners, whether small woodlot owners, investment groups, industrial landowners, state, federal, or tribal entities, timber harvesting is kept well below sustainable limits. During the past 50 years, less than 2% of the standing timber inventory was harvested each year, while net tree growth was 3 percent. In 2007 for example, the volume of net timber growth was 36% higher than the volume of annual timber removals. Canada has 91% of its original forest cover, is the largest boreal forest in the world, and harvests less than one half of 1% of its managed forests.
The U.S. and Canada together comprise 15.5% of the world’s total forest cover.