Healthy Forests Contribute to Sustainable Renewable Resources

 August 11, 2017

With a global population of 7.5 billion and growing, the need for sustainable, renewable resources will also continue to grow. Currently, the southern United States produces between 15 to 20 percent of all the commercial wood produced in the world. The most important growth markets for export of timber and forest products for this region will be Mexico, Central America, South America and Asia, as well as continued trade with Europe. The last 100 years of sustainable forest production in the U.S. South demonstrates that it is the best wood basket in the world, and Arkansas is in the heart of it all.

Companies from around the world are expanding and relocating into Arkansas because the state has such a well-managed and sustainable forest. Since 1978, Arkansas has actually increased its forest area by 5 percent, and its amount of standing timber by 50 percent. Every year, the state is growing 15+ million tons of wood fiber over and above what is being harvested. Arkansas has more standing wood today than has been recorded in the last 70 years, and its forests have 70 million more tons of pine and 30 million more tons of hardwoods than just 10 years ago. For global companies looking to bring business to the U.S., Arkansas attracts them with a timber resource that is available, sustainable and at a lower cost than anywhere else in the world.

In order for North America to keep up with the growing demand for timber and forest products, it is vital to maintain the health of our forests. The good news is the overall health of the forests in the United States is excellent, particularly where the forest industry provides an economic incentive to manage forests sustainably. However, there are parts of the country where the forest industry has been diminished due to regulation and other outside pressures, and the effect on the forest has been devastating. Looking toward the future, it is important for the forestry industry to professionally manage both the environmental and regulatory uncertainties that affect the sustainability of our forests.

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