Arkansas Timber Industry Focuses on Eco-Friendly Forestry & ManagementAugust 15, 2017
In order for the timber and forest products industry in Arkansas to succeed and thrive, those in the industry must continue to work together to provide healthier, sustainable forests. Forestry is a long-term production process that involves landowners, foresters and regulatory agencies. Every day, foresters battle a myriad of environmental issues and uncertainties from drought and fires, to insects and disease. These natural uncertainties are complex, but they are easier to predict and manage than the uncertainties that develop in the political and regulatory climate.
The long-term nature of growing and managing forests, the huge capital investments in forest-products manufacturing, and the rapid changes in regulations and environmental policies can create uncertainties in the future that can limit investment and growth in the industry. While the health of Arkansas’s forests is the primary concern, the need for stability in the regulatory atmosphere and the marketplace plays an equal role in the future of timber and forest products in the wood basket of Arkansas.
Arkansas has an advantage when it comes to managing forest health issues. While the state faces the same challenges as other regions and countries, certain levels of risk are much lower because a large percentage of forestland in Arkansas is privately owned. Landowners in Arkansas are well informed and typically work quickly with the Division of Agriculture and others in the forest industry to address forest health issues head on.
When it comes to regulatory issues, problems can be solved with cooperation between the forestry industry and regulatory agencies. Working together and coming up with solutions will benefit the long-term interests of all concerned. Universities in the state play a key role in this process, providing unbiased, science-based facts on the issues.
Sustainable forest management works to protect the entire forest, from soils, trees and flowers, to wildlife and water sources. The components and relationships are studied, monitored and managed to maintain a healthy forest that is resilient and enduring. Also, it is important to also understand that forest sustainability is linked to the sustainability of humanity. When we protect our forests, we are providing clean air, clean water, a better habitat and a stronger economy.
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