Your Land - Your Trees - Your Choices
Forest management conserves and sustains healthy, productive forests.
The South has more than 208 million acres of forestland that contain some of the most diverse and productive ecosystems in the world.
Southern forests provide clean air and water, wildlife habitat, clean energy, recreation opportunities and a stronger economy. In addition to the many wood products used for building, furniture and paper, forests produce non-timber products such as medicines, food, specialty products and pine straw.
Approximately 86% of the South's forestland is privately-owned, making it the nation's stronghold for private forestland ownership. In order to sustain healthy forests and maintain the economic viability of forestland, forest management is vital.
Benefits of Forest Management
Forest management practices such as thinning and prescribed burning create healthier, more productive forests. Overcrowded trees often struggle to survive, weakening them against insects or disease. Thinning competing trees allows remaining trees to grow faster and be more resistant to pests. Prescribed burning removes competing vegetation, improves habitat for wildlife, and reduces dangerous buildup of combustible forest fuels.
The South is the primary producer of timber products in the U.S. and the world. This positive environment for forest investment provides economic opportunities for landowners.
Well-managed forests generate income through timber harvests, non-timber products and a return on investments in land and forest management. Emerging markets for biofuels and carbon offset projects are creating new sources of income for landowners.
Improved Wildlife Habitat
Southern forests are productive, dynamic, and diverse, supporting a vast array of wildlife communities. Forest management can directly enhance habitat for wildlife including migratory bird species, amphibians, and black bears. Practices such as providing wildlife travel corridors and protecting cavity trees can provide a mixture of habitats that increases biodiversity.
Water quality protection
Forests produce clean water by absorbing rainfall, refilling aquifers, slowing stormwater runoff, and reducing floods. Careful management practices leave or create buffers in streamside and wetland areas to filter runoff, remove pollutants and provide tree cover to keep streams cool and improve fish habitat.
Forest management practices can create open areas, trails and road access that can provide recreation and enhance natural beauty. Well-managed forests increase opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, hunting, fishing and bird watching. Observing and connecting with nature can increase mental, physical and emotional well-being. Studies show that activities such as a walk in the woods can provide a boost to the immune system that lasts two or three days.
Renewable and energy-efficient building products
In addition to being recyclable, wood can be produced anew for generations to come on sustainably managed forestlands. Recycling and processing wood products requires much less energy than does the processing of many other non-renewable materials.
Managing Your Forest
Management helps keep your trees and forestland healthy and productive and optimizes economic, environmental and social benefits from them. Whether your objectives are profit, recreation, scenery, wildlife habitat, or preserving your legacy for future generations-- wise management can help get you there.
Professional foresters are available to prepare management plans based on your objectives and land capabilities. They can provide advice on reforestation, prescribed fire, forest health, forest taxation and best management practices for water quality and make recommendations on Forest Stewardship, Forest Legacy, Tree Farm and Cost-Share programs.
Contact your state forestry agency to find a forester to help you with your ownership objectives.