Forest inventory data is updated annually through a joint effort by the U.S. Forest Service and the North Carolina Forest Service. Keep in mind, forestry data is often reported two years after the data has been collected due to the monitoring process.
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North Carolina has 18.8 million acres of forests across the state, which spans some 31 million acres, meaning that 61% of the state is covered in forests. The Oak-Hickory forest type (hardwoods) is the most dominant forest type in the state, totaling 38% of the forest cover. The Loblolly-Shortleaf forest type (softwoods) is second with 31%. The Oak-Pine forest type (mixed stand) comprised 13%. The Oak-Gum-Cypress forest type (mixed stand) represents 9%. Several mixed stand forest types (9%) round out the forest acreage.
In terms of forest ownership, private interests own roughly 85% of the forests in the state. Non-industrial private forests landowners (NIPF) own 65% of those privately held forests while timber management investment companies own 15%. The forest products industry itself owns 5%. The public owns 15% of the state’s forests, including 7% that is comprised in the five National Forest located in North Carolina.
It is estimated that there are 500,000 NIPF in North Carolina.