Sustainable forestry practices pay off in a big way, as proven by the latest figures from the Food and Agriculture Organization. While deforestation is still a major global problem, trees are actually multiplying in the United States, which contains eight percent of the world’s forests. There are more trees than there were 100 years ago. Forest growth has been exceeding harvest at an increasing rate since the 1940s.
The report notes that about 33 percent of the United States is forested. Many of those forests are classed as productive forests, which aren’t legally reserved from timber harvest, with others set aside for watershed protection, wildlife habitat, domestic livestock grazing and recreation.
America’s forests were depleted during the 18th and 19th centuries, when old-growth trees were felled for logging and to clear land for development. Early forest conservation policies aimed to slow that pace, and studies show that these efforts have nearly reversed a lot of that damage. The average standing wood volume per acre in the Eastern United States, where early settlers took trees down at an alarming rate, has almost doubled since 1952.
Well-managed timber forests, like those which produce Eastern White Pine, not only provide us with a renewable material that can be used for a wide variety of purposes, they also play a crucial role in maintaining ecological balance and the overall health of the planet. Plentiful trees filter the air, give us oxygen, provide a haven for creatures of all kinds and help control the effects of climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons