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Published on: Aug. 17, 2010

Walking on a Trail

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Trail Building

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Playing in Leaves

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Turkey Hunting

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Planting a Seedling

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Asia, or a vinyl floor, which is neither renewable nor biodegradable. As a bonus, using homegrown materials keeps the economic benefits of your purchase in Missouri.

How do you know if forest products are being harvested sustainably? This gets a little tricky. Some forest products now include green certification stamps of sustainability through the Forest Stewardship Council or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

While these programs do a good job of recognizing sustainably managed forests and forest products, there is currently very little enrolled acreage in Missouri. This does not mean that Missouri’s forests are not managed well. Rather, the lack of enrollment reflects the fact that certification is expensive.

Given that Missouri’s forests are currently growing about three times as much volume as is being harvested each year provides some indication of our sustainability. As the cost of certification is reduced or the benefits increase, more forest acreage in Missouri will likely become “green certified.” In the meantime, we suggest buying Missouri-grown forest products when possible, and green-certified Missouri forest products as they become available.

In all consumer decisions, the conservation-minded should consume the resources they need but avoid being wasteful.

Manage Forestland Responsibly

Because the vast majority of Missouri’s forestland is privately owned, landowners have an especially important role to play in sustaining our forests. Managing your woods for maximum long-term benefits, such as for wildlife, recreation or timber, often requires proactive management.

Private landowners can benefit greatly by contacting a Conservation Department forester or private forestry consultant to learn more about their forestland and the opportunities it may present.

Although forest management includes much more than just harvesting, the advice of a professional forester is especially important if you are considering conducting a timber harvest. In fact, the Conservation Department recently launched a new voluntary “Call Before You Cut” campaign to help provide information to landowners who are considering a timber harvest. More information can be obtained at callb4ucut.com or 877-564-7483. Trained foresters can help you decide if your forest is ready for a harvest and make sure that such management activities maintain or enhance the health, productivity and wildlife value of your forest.

By also using a Master Logger™ or logger who has attended the Missouri Forest Product Association’s Professional Timber Harvester Training, you can further ensure that your logger will use best management practices to protect soil and water resources.

The Missouri Heritage Woods Program and

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