What Is Sustainable Forestry?
Sustainable forestry means that trees are not harvested faster than they can grow back. Forest management is aimed at producing high-quality pulpwood and timber, protecting and enhancing habitat for wildlife, and ensuring water quality is protected for future generations.
What Does The Forest Do For You?
Many people are unaware of the products they may use on a daily basis that are a direct product of the forests that surround them. Lumber and paper are just the beginning, though these are the two that most often come to mind. Thousands of products come from trees, varying from food to building supplies, toys, instruments, packaging and countless others.
Each product is of great economic value. Not only do they create jobs, they also create consumer goods that fuel the economy in many different industries. Wood products are another reason to manage our valuable, renewable forests with sustainable forestry practices. These lists will give you an idea of just how much our forests provide for us in the modern world, though they are just a fraction of what is available to us. The next time you’re in the forest, think back to this list and just how much the trees provide for us!
Maine Forestry Facts
Maine Forest Cover
Roughly 90 percent of Maine is forested, the highest percentage of any state. This includes ~12 million acres in the northern part of Maine where few people live.
Maine has 39 commercial tree species including aspen, birch, red and sugar maples, several types of oaks, white and red pines, spruce, balsam fir and others.
Hardwoods like oaks and maples dominate in southern Maine while softwoods like spruces and firs do in northern Maine. The area between the two is mixed hard and softwoods. 39 percent of the forest is softwoods and 61 percent hardwoods.
Our Changing Forests
Maine has been harvested for timber for well over two hundred years, yet the state has more forest today than 100 years ago. During the 1700’s and 1800’s much of southern and central Maine was cleared for farms. With the decline of agriculture in the 1800’s much of this land has grown back. Remanants of rock walls can be found throughout the forests.
About 95 percent of the forest is privately owned. Family forestland owners own 33%, private companies 61% and the federal government 1%.
Maine has 200 forest products businesses employing in the vicinity of 24,000 people. The forest products industry contributes around $1.8 billion to the state’s economy each year. Maine is the second largest paper producing state.
As estimated by the Maine Forest Service, around a half million acres of forest is harvested each year, producing about six million cords of wood with the harvest remaining stable for several years.