In a recent proclamation Tennessee Forest Products Governor Bill Lee encouraged residents to recognize and “celebrate our forests and the renewable resources they provide as an important part of the history, economy, culture and well -being of our State”.
According to a statement from the governor’s office, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDF) Forestry Division is celebrating with the Tennessee Forestry Association and its shared ForestryWorks program.
“To fulfill our mission to protect, conserve, and enhance all forest resources for all citizens, we must work with forest owners and forest industry stakeholders to encourage active forest management,” the state forester said. David Arnold. “Actively managed forests are more productive, healthy and resilient and provide the widest range of forest benefits. Diversified, competitive and sustainable forest product markets are the best incentive for landowners to manage their forests.
To celebrate the initiative, activities include social media posts to raise awareness of Tennessee’s logging industry and a supply chain tour. The group visited timber management sites in the Chickasaw State Forest and visited Speyside Bourbon Stave Mill in Bolivar.
A media release noted that fifty-two percent (13.9 million acres) of Tennessee is forested, providing raw materials for the forest products industry, as well as recreational opportunities and vital ecosystem functions.
“Most of the state’s forests (83%) are privately managed with about 335,000 owners with an average size of 44 acres. Oak-hickory is the dominant forest type covering nearly 10 million acres. acres, making Tennessee one of the top hardwood-producing states in the nation,” the statement read.
He also mentioned that active forest management provides a renewable resource to meet the global demand for forest products. Encouraging the use of sustainably harvested wood products helps grow the forest products economy in our state. TDF provides forest owners with information to help them make informed decisions in pursuit of their forest management goals.
The forest products sector contributes to the overall economic prosperity of Tennessee, especially in rural communities, $21.7 billion in goods and services annually.
The sector would also employ more than 85,500 Tennessees across the state.
Average annual lumber removals in Tennessee are estimated at 1.3 billion board feet, 84.6% of which comes from family woodlot owners.
Tennessee’s forest products industry, however, needs workers to fill a variety of jobs. With ForestryWorks, TDF has partnered with the Tennessee Forestry Association to offer K-12 and post-secondary programs to encourage students to consider a career in the industry. Learn more about www.forestryworks.com/tennessee.
Tennessee’s logged forests also play a vital role in providing a wide range of ecosystem services, including the provision of clean air, clean water, wildlife habitat, and biodiversity.
TDF protects and promotes the responsible use of Tennessee’s forest resources. Areas of focus include assisting landowners with a variety of services, providing quality tree seedlings, supporting forest health programs, collecting forest inventory data, assisting forest industries and forest fire fighting.
Visit www.tn.gov/agriculture/forests for more information.