The newest forest inventory data was compiled in a joint effort by the U.S. Forest Service and the North Carolina Forest Service in 2015. Keep in mind, forestry data is often reported a few years after the data has been collected due to the calculation process. Hence, the report updates North Carolina through 2013. The report can be downloaded by clicking here.
North Carolina has 18.6 million acres of forests across the state, which spans some 31 million acres, meaning that 60% of the state is covered in forests. Hardwoods continue to be the dominant species in the state, making up some 67% of the forest canopy. Softwoods, which includes several pine species, are 32% of the inventory. The final 1% of forests are categorized as nonstocked areas.
In terms of forest ownership, private landowners own some 79% of the forests in the state. Non-industrial private forests landowners (NIPF) own 63% of those privately held forests while timber management investment companies own the remaining 16% of this category. The public owns 15% of the state’s forests, including 7% that is comprised in the five National Forest located in North Carolina. The forest products industry itself owns the remaining 6% of the state’s forests.
It is estimated that there are over 500,000 NIPF in North Carolina.