USDA Forest Service

North Central Research Station


North Central Research Station
1992 Folwell Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108

(651) 649-5000

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service., the U.S. government's official web portal.

Introducing the Northern Research Station

The North Central Research Station and the Northeastern Research Station have joined to form the Northern Research Station. Our 20-state region spans the Midwest from Minnesota to Missouri and the Northeast from Maine to Maryland.

Forest Profile for Illinois

Illinois has 4 million acres of timberland, which :

Map of Illinois showing the distribution of forest land.  There is a high density of forested land near the southern part of the state.
Bulleted item Covers 11 percent of the state area
Bulleted item Ranks 37th out of 50 states
Bulleted item Comprises10 percent public ownership

Hardwood forests make up 97 percent of the forests in Illinois.

The oak-hickory forest type accounts for more than half of that area.


Timber volume in Illinois is increasing.
Graph of Illinois Timber Volume over Time - Timber Volumes in Illinois are on the Increase from the early 1950s until 1996.


In Illinois, 82 percent of timberland is privately owned.
Private timberland ownership is spread among 96,000 private individuals.
The Shawnee National Forest is the largest public owner of timberland.
Ownership by timber tract size.

Bulleted item 66 percent own 10 acres or more
Bulleted item 7 percent own 100 acres or more


The forest products industry contributes $2 billion annually to Illinois' economy.
In 1996, the state's forest products industry included 123 primary processing mills.

Bulleted item 106 sawmills
Bulleted item 1 veneer mills
Bulleted item 16 non-industrial mills

Illinois has the largest population and consumes  more wood products than any other state in the North Central region.


Issues and Opportunities for Illinois Forests
Red and white oak are disappearing from Illinois's forests because of

Bulleted item The maturing of the state's forests and
Bulleted item The lack of significant disturbance through either natural occurrences or harvest.

Because these species have limited ability to regenerate under shade, Illinois future forest will lake this important source of wildlife habitat and lumber products.

The average size of forest tracts is decreasing, as large tracts are sold and subdivided. Small parcels are difficult to manage and threaten forest ecosystem values and functions.

Our Contributions
Every year, the North Central Research Station's field crews inventory sample plots on public and private lands in Illinois. That information feeds our annual report of forest conditions and timber product outputs. Additional information about Illinois's forests is available in the following North Central publications.
Illinois' Forests in 1998 (Resource Bulletin NC-198)
Illinois Timber Industry - An Assessment of Timber Product Output and Use, 1996 (Resource Bulletin NC-192)

North Central Partners in Illinois
In addition to forest inventory and analysis, we engage in research with an array of partners in Illinois. A sample of those partners is listed below.

Bulleted item Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Bulleted item Southern Illinois University, Department of Forestry
Bulleted item University of Illinois, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
Bulleted item Shawnee National Forest
Bulleted item University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Bulleted item Department of Leisure Studies
Bulleted item Human-Environment Research Laboratory
Bulleted item Cities of Wilmington, Morris, and Elwood, IL
Bulleted item USDI National Park Service- Illinois & Michigan National Heritage Canal
Bulleted item USEPA Lake Superior Binational Program
Bulleted item Openlands Project (Chicago)
Bulleted item Prairie Parklands Partnership for Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
Bulleted item The Nature Conservancy, IL Chapter

USDA Forest Service - North Central Research Station
Last Modified: Tuesday, 08 April 2003

USDA logo which links to the department's national site.Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.