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How Healthy Forest Management Helps the Environment

How Healthy Forest Management Helps the Environment

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

The great outdoors is an integral part of life here in the foothills and mountains of the Carolinas and Virginia. Since people settled in this area in the Eighteenth, they have enjoyed the incredible beauty and abundant natural resources. 

We have lived with the land and depended on it for our economic success. From harvesting timber to adventure tourism, we are intricately tied to nature. 

We depend on the hills, valleys, waterways, and forests that make this area so special. It is vital to make sure we are doing everything we can to ensure our beautiful area stays that way. No one wants to think that we could lose the resources we love so much.

It is easy to hear about timber harvesting and assume that it means destroying the woodlands that are so important to this region. However, healthy forestry management helps protect our most valuable resources. 

In this article, we are discussing how proper forestry management actually helps the environment and promotes healthy forests. In it, we will answer these questions:

  • Are the Forests on the Verge of Disappearing?
  • What Is Proper Forestry Management?
  • How Does Proper Forestry Management Help the Environment?
  • How Do You Ensure Your Land Is Properly Managed?
  • Is My Land Right for Church and Church’s Forestry Management?

Are the Forests on the Verge of Disappearing? 

It is a common misconception that we are on the verge of losing the last of our forests. 

What Is the State of Forested Land in the United States?

The United States contains around 300 million hectares of forestland, which includes boreal forests, temperate rainforests, dry pine woodlands, northern hardwoods, and a variety of other coniferous and deciduous forest types.

“Fifty-seven percent of our forestlands are in private ownership and 33 percent in federal ownership. My agency alone, the U.S. Forest Service, manages about 20 percent of the forestland in the United States, called national forests.” - Gail Kimbell, Regional Forester, Northern Region.

There are a lot of trees in our country. Many of them are privately owned. Does that mean the forests are in imminent danger of disappearing?

Timber Harvesting Has Leveled Out

While 300 million hectares may sound like a lot of forested acreage, it is important to note that that is about 30% less than the 423 million hectares of woodlands during the seventeenth century. Should that worry us? Not at all. 

The amount of forested land has remained steady since the start of the twentieth century. Land that was cleared of trees and converted to other uses comprises about 120 million hectares. However, most of that conversion took place during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Since then, we have implemented better forestry practices, ensuring that our trees are the renewable resources they should be. 

There are over two billion trees planted every year. The majority of those trees are planted by the lumber and forest product industry or private tree farmers. Others are planted by a combination of local, state, and federal government agencies. Ultimately, what that means is we are putting back the lumber we take at about the same rate we use it.  

improperly-managed-logging.jpgWhat Is Proper Forest Management?

Proper forest management helps ensure timber harvesting is done in a manner that helps the environment. 

Defining Forest Management

Forest management describes the process by which landowners set out to achieve goals for their forests. In order to reach the desired outcome for those specified objectives, proper management and control of wooded land are required to sustain health, vigor, product flow, and other qualities like soil condition, water quality, wildlife preservation, and attractiveness. 

It is the practical application of forestry, which is “The science, art, and practice of managing and using trees, forests, and their associated resources for human benefit.” - NCSU Extension Forestry.

Developing a Forestry Management Plan

One of the first things you should do when creating your forestry management plan is to outline your goals and objectives. You will set long-term objectives for what you will want your forested land to look like in the future. 

The management of your forests is guided by those goals. 

  • How do you plan to use your land in the future?
  • How will your needs change? 
  • Do you plan to sell anytime soon?
  • Do you want to preserve portions of your land or maintain some old growth?

The answers to those questions factor into the objectives you set. Goals must be attainable and reasonable. Furthermore, they must be compatible with the available resources as well as the land's potential. The following are some instances of common objectives: 

  • Enhancing the property's scenic value and creating beautiful mountain views
  • Enhancing wildlife habitats and drawing in more animals to your property
  • Maintaining a healthy woodland area
  • Maximizing the earning potential of your property

What Happens When Land Isn’t Effectively Managed?

When land isn’t properly managed, the resulting dangers include:

  • Your woodlands are more susceptible to fire
  • Your trees could be impacted by diseases 
  • Your earning potential could be wasted
  • Your property value may suffer from reduced views and land usage availability 
  • Your trees could die and become hazards 

Clearcutting.jpgForest Management vs. “Clearcutting”

When people think of forestry management and timber harvesting, they might picture acres upon acres of rainforest permanently destroyed, displacing unique wild animals and harming the environment. 

For those with proper and effective forest management in mind, clear-cut harvest is a term that means “A harvesting and regeneration method that removes all trees within a given area. Clear-cutting is most commonly used in pine and hardwood forests, which require full sunlight to regenerate and grow efficiently.” 

When we harvest timber, we are not just collecting lumber; we are replanting trees and developing healthy forests. 

How Does Proper Forestry Management Help the Environment?

Not only can timber harvesting be done in a way that does not hurt the environment, but it can also actually lead to healthier forests. Here are a few ways proper forestry management can help the environment:

  • Young Trees and Carbon: According to a recent study, the presence of many younger trees may be responsible for taking in more than 25% more carbon
  • Reducing Fire Danger: While wildfires are most commonly associated with forests out west, there are plenty of forest fires on the East Coast as well. Harvesting timber helps ensure the reduction of fire danger on your property. 
  • Developing Healthier Trees: Choosing the correct trees to cut is an important part of a harvester’s job. They should ensure that any sick trees are harvested and removed. This helps to keep fungi and bacteria from spreading and causing damage to nearby trees.
  • Reduced Competition: Harvesting trees will thin our forests where trees are competing with each other for nutrients. When trees are replanted, they will be done so in a manner that allows them to maximize the available resources. 
  • Safer Forests: Sometimes, dead or sick trees in forests will fall at inopportune times. Forest management helps ensure hazardous trees are removed in a timely manner. 
  • Habitat Restoration: As replanted forests mature, wildlife habitats can be restored better than they were before the timber was harvested. 

How Do You Ensure Your Land Is Properly Managed?

For landowners who want to ensure that their forests are properly managed, it is important to find the right forestry consultant. Here’s what you’re looking for in a forest management consultant:

  • Someone with expertise gained from the right education
  • Someone with experience managing forests in your area
  • Someone who will look out for your forestry needs
  • Someone who knows the market and understands logging
  • Someone who will help you maximize the profitability of your timber
  • Someone who knows how to practice forest management in a way that helps the environment

If you are searching for local expert foresters, Church & Church is here to help

Is My Land Right for Church and Church’s Forestry Management?

Church & Church Lumber Company provides forest management and timber harvesting services for landowners throughout the foothills and piedmont of the Carolinas and Virginia. 

You have certain goals and needs for the management of your forest. We see working with you as a chance to learn about your property and help you achieve your forest management goals. We are committed to putting the time and energy into ensuring you get the most out of your land. 

With transparency, information, counsel, and direction, we provide tailored forest management solutions. We want you to be well-informed and aware of your options for achieving your forest management goals.

Furthermore, we are committed to preserving the beauty of our area. From Boone to Yadkinville, Morganton to Galax, and beyond, this is absolutely one of the most amazing places to live in the Carolinas and Virginia. The team at Church & Church is doing our part to make sure it stays that way while providing the lumber necessary to continue building great communities. 

To provide you with the best service possible, we have a team of expert foresters and qualified, trained logging professionals on staff.

We offer the following services:

  • Forestry Management Consultants
  • Timber Purchase
  • Timber Harvesting
  • Forest Management Plans

Church & Church Lumber Company is a family-owned and operated business located in Wilkes County, North Carolina. We have been a part of the forest products industry for over three generations. Our roots run deep here in northwestern North Carolina. 

Whether you have questions about timber harvesting for properties larger than ten acres or selling woodlands, reach out to Church & Church for more information about forest management and how to get the most out of the timber on your property.