People have been harvesting trees for many different uses throughout time. However, only recently has organized forestry and conservation come about in the United States, with much of that taking place in North Carolina. In the late 1880s, the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, was established as the first lumber enterprise to take into account conservation. It was also the first U.S. education program in forestry. In 1891, America's first forest reserves were established. President Theodore Roosevelt served as a great advocate for natural resource conservation, creating our national park system and, in 1911, America's first National Forest.
FORESTRY IN LOUISIANA
Trees are the No. 1 crop and agricultural product in the state of Louisiana. 14 million acres, almost 50 percent of Louisiana’s land, is in forest. The forest industry is active in 59 of Louisiana's 64 parishes, where land and timber support the economy. Private, non-industrial landowners own 62 percent of the state’s forestland. Forest products industries own 29 percent. The general public owns 9 percent. Louisiana’s forestry industry supports more than 180 businesses such as sawmills and paper mills, and is the second-largest manufacturing employer in the state. Forestry is crucial to Louisiana’s economic development. It also is crucial to the quality of life our state's citizens enjoy. Louisiana’s forests provide a multitude of benefits, including clean air and water, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities and scenic beauty.
Forests are considered a renewable resource, as trees can be grown on the same plot of land over and over again. In addition, trees contribute to the energy value of their environment by storing carbon in the wood and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere through photosynthesis. Forestry is about more than timber. It is involved in wildlife habitat, soil conservation and stabilization, clean air and water, and recreation. It also holds aesthetic values. Trees increase the value of one’s home and help reduce home energy costs when planted and planned properly. Forests provide a home for wildlife and are thriving under voluntary efforts made by private landowners to protect portions of their forests for wildlife conservation. In the last 25 years, Louisiana's deer population has tripled, and wild turkeys have increased to an estimated 90,000, compared to 70,000 birds just a decade ago.
Each year, the average person uses the equivalent of a tree 100 feet high and 18 inches in diameter for shelter, paper and other wood products.
Many of the products we use today come from trees, ranging from wood products for building to paper products like napkins and notebook paper. Rosin is used on the bows of instruments like violins, as well to improve the grip of athletes. Turpentine is used with paint products. We also get many fruits and nuts from trees as well as many other products. For a list of many products, visit Idaho Forest Products Commission.
Seedlings are often damaged or destroyed by animals, insects, drought, and plant competition. Modern forestry techniques allow 80 percent of seedlings to reach cone-bearing age.
Saplings grow vigorously, cleaning the air of greenhouse gases and releasing oxygen.
Light filtering through adolescent forests stimulates growth of understory plants, providing ideal foraging for animals, who then become prey to others.
In established forests, foresters control disease and insects. They build trails and roads to provide access to firefighters.
The mature forest provides recreation, watershed for urban and rural communities, animal habitats, and a host of wood products for our everyday lives.
TERMS TO KNOW
Paper mill - A mill that receives logs or wood chips and turns them into paper
Photosynthesis - The process by which green plants and some other organisms use sunlight to synthesize foods from carbon dioxide and water
Primary mill - A mill that processes roundwood in log or bolt form or as chipped roundwood.
Roundwood - Examples of roundwood products are saw logs, pulpwood, veneer logs, poles, and logs used for composite board products.
Sawmill - A factory in which logs are sawed into lumber by machine
Sapling - A young tree, especially one with a slender trunk
Seedling - A young plant, especially one raised from seed and not from a cutting
Timber - Wood prepared for use in building and carpentry