the future and want to leave their land better than they received it.
â€śIf managed wisely, a healthy forest will keep producing quality trees for years to come, creating tremendous economic, environmental and social benefits,â€ť says Mike Hoffmann, MDC forestry division unit chief.
Department foresters can advise landowners on all phases of forest management such as tree planting, thinning and harvesting; wildlife habitat development; and pest control. In addition, the Conservation Reserve Program and other federal programs have encouraged more landowners to reforest open land for erosion control, wildlife habitat and future timber supply.
Although forest management helps to conserve this valuable resource, our trees and forests face threats from many fronts. Invasive insects, plants and diseases threaten the health of our forests. Our forests can also be damaged by extreme weather events such as ice, windstorms, droughts and floods.
â€śForests have always faced challenges, from uncontrolled fires, oak decline, chestnut blight and Dutch elm disease to our present-day challenges with gypsy moths, emerald ash borers, urban sprawl and thousand cankers disease,â€ť says Nick Kuhn, MDC community forestry coordinator. â€śWe must be ready for future challenges.
When our forests are healthy, they are better equipped to deal with new challenges.â€ť
Health, Wealth and Happiness
Trees and forests are Missouriâ€™s greatest renewable natural resource. â€śHealthy forests provide clean air and water, habitat for hundreds of species and even conservation areas to be enjoyed by all Missourians,â€ť Kuhn says. â€śNo matter where we liveâ€”in the country, suburbs or citiesâ€”trees and forests are vital to our health, wealth and happiness.â€ť
Through wise-use forest management practices, Missouri is once again a leader in wood production. Railroad ties and lumber are still important products, but the wood industry has become much more diversified. Missouri is a national leader in the production of charcoal, barrels, walnut nutmeats and shell products, and red cedar gift items. In 2011, Missouriâ€™s forest industry supported 41,200 jobs, contributed $7.3 billion to Missouriâ€™s economy and generated $77 million in state sales tax.
But timber is far from the only benefit of the forest. Our forests provide habitat for an incredible diversity of plants and animals. Because forest ecosystems are very complex, good forest management and good wildlife management are closely linked. Missouri is home to about 730 species of wildlife, many of which live in the forest during a part of their life. Animals ranging from the white-tailed deer and wild turkey to the rare Ozark zigzag salamander are found