Join the Missouri Department of Conservation in celebrating 2011 as the “Year of the Forest.” This effort is a reminder that keeping Missouri’s 15.4 million acres of forests and woods healthy is vital to our wildlife, outdoor recreation, economy and quality of life.
No matter where we live--in the country, suburbs or cities--trees and forests are vital to our health, wealth and happiness.
Covering more than one-third of the Show-Me State, our forests and woods protect our soil from erosion and filter our water. They provide oxygen we need to breathe and clean our air by trapping and storing pollution, including tons of carbon emissions from fossil fuels.
Our trees and forests provide shade in the summer and fuel in the winter. Our forests provide lumber and numerous other wood products used around our state and around the world. This industry supports more than 32,000 Missouri jobs and generates almost $6 billion in annual economic activity.
Our forests provide habitats for an incredible diversity of plants and animals that could not exist without them. Our forests provide a wealth of outdoor recreational opportunities and breathtaking scenic beauty. Our trees and forests help connect us to nature.
But our trees and forests face increasing threats from numerous fronts. Invasive insects, plants and diseases threaten the health of our trees and forests. Extreme weather events such as ice storms, wind storms, droughts and floods damage and destroy our trees and forests. They are also being carved up and chopped down for human development in ways that are not sustainable.
More than 80 percent of forests and woods in Missouri are privately owned, so landowners play a vital role in keeping our forests healthy. If you own woodlands, please manage your forests responsibly.
Even if you don’t own woodland, you can still help our trees and forests. Get out in nature and enjoy our forests. Use Missouri forest products to help support jobs and sustainable forestry practices. Plant trees. Don’t bring invasive insects, plants and diseases into Missouri. Get involved in your community.
The Year of the Forest reminds us of the important connections between healthy forests, ecosytems, people and economies. It reminds us that sustainable forest management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests are vital to all of us and to future generations.