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News & Press

Read about recent events, essential information and the latest community news.

 

AFA accepting "Logger of the Year" nominations

It's that time of year again! You can submit your nominations by filling out this form and sending to the AFA office! 

 

Arkansas’s Healthy Forests

Forests are "Win/Win”

"The handling of our forests as a continuous, renewable resource means permanent employment and stability to our country life.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

Arkansas’s Forests are healthy and productive.  They provide clean air and water, excellent wildlife habitat, scenic beauty, and jobs.  Forests are not "either/or” places.  Rather, they are "both/and” places.  Forest landowners can manage for all these objectives together.  All Arkansans win because our forests are healthy today.

 

Here are a few facts from the latest (2014) Arkansas Forest Facts published by the US Forest Service and the Arkansas Forestry Commission from data compiled from permanent forest sample plots over the past sixty-plus years.  These plots are measured once every five years, 20% each year.

 

First….In 1978 there were 17.8 million acres of forest containing 600 million tons of trees in Arkansas.  Today, there are 19.0 million acres containing 950 million tons of trees.  That’s an increase of over 16 tons per acre or almost 50%.

 

Second….Arkansas forests are growing 10.4 million tons of pine and 5.3 million tons of hardwood more than are being harvested annually.

 

Third….Families and individuals own more than 60% of Arkansas’s forests.  About 19% are publicly owned.  Forest Industry owns less than 20% of Arkansas’s forests. 

 

Multiple owners in multiple landscapes with varied objectives for their forests can all have multiple benefits.  In Arkansas, we are blessed with excellent hunting opportunities.  Why?  Our forests are healthy.  In Arkansas, we are blessed with clean air and water much because our forests are healthy.  In Arkansas, we are blessed with magnificent scenery largely because our forests are varied and healthy.  In Arkansas, we are blessed with more than 26,000 jobs directly due to healthy forests.

 

A recent writer to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette claimed that two new pellet mills and a possible new pulp mill would clear over 800,000 acres of forest per year and pollute our air and water.  That writer has inaccurate numbers and leaves out many facts. 

 

Forestland owners in Arkansas are doing an excellent job of replanting forests as they are cut (see the first fact).  All timber harvests are not clearcuts, most are thinnings where half or more of the trees per acre are left to grow.  The size of trees that are used by pellet and pulp mills are more likely to be harvested in thinning operations.  The writer’s reference to "800,000 acres of clearcuts” is grossly overstated.  The correct number should be 200,000 acres of thinning.  That number represents only 1% of our forests and, more importantly, it represents only 38% of the net annual growth after current harvests. 

 

Fact: We NEED these mills (all types of mills – pulp and paper, lumber, and pellet mills) to keep our forests in healthy growing condition.  If we don’t match the growth of the forest with removals, eventually we will have stagnant, dense forests that will be plagued by insects, disease, and wildfire.  A tragic example of this problem lies in western states where mountain pine beetle and expensive, large-scale wildfires have come to be the norm.  Last year (2015) was a record year in recent forest history as 10 million acres of forests burned, mostly in the west.  In the early 2000’s, the red oak borer, a native insect, wiped out 1 million acres of overly dense oak forests in Arkansas.  This will continue if we don’t balance growth and removals from our forest.

 

Fact:  Forest industry provides jobs that average over $53,000 per employee per year usually in rural counties, sometimes thought to be "poor."

 

Fact:  Environmentalists, university foresters, state and federal agency foresters, professional loggers, and industrial foresters have worked together for more than two decades to train landowners and professionals (including 1,434 loggers last year).  The training includes how to apply voluntary forestry Best Management Practices for water quality protection, how to conduct prescribed fire, how to manage the forest for deer, turkey, quail, or ducks, and many other tools that are necessary to manage the forest for the long term….for our grandchildren.

 

The writer got one thing right.  Protecting the quality of life of Arkansans is non-negotiable.  That’s why we teach and train landowners, professionals, and our children the science and practice of good forest management!

 

Good forest management is being practiced by the forest landowners, loggers and foresters of Arkansas.  Good forest management respects and conserves our water and air and ecosystems and wildlife while it uses many tools to manage our forests.  Good forest management plans decades in advance to reach multiple landowner objectives.  Good forest management is based on the best science available.  Good forest management has many partners.  Arkansas has good forest management in place.  Arkansas has healthy forests.  We are blessed.  The future is bright!

 

Max Braswell                                                          Joe Fox

Executive Vice President                                       State Forester

Arkansas Forestry Association                              Arkansas Forestry Commission

 

Dr. Philip A. Tappe

Dean, School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Arkansas at Monticello

Director, Arkansas Forest Resources Center, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

 

Press Release:

AFA Hires New Communications Director

The Arkansas Forestry Association (AFA) would like to welcome Rebecca Neely to the AFA team as our new Communications Director. Neely is responsible for publications, website content, social media and is the contact for the "Log A Load for Kids” fundraising effort supporting Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Neely, a native of Florence, Mississippi, most recently served as the Communications Director at the Arkansas Environmental Federation. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations from Harding University in 2014.  

 

Since 1947, the Arkansas Forestry Association has been the only nonprofit association representing the state’s entire forestry community. With more than 1,200 members, the organization promotes the wise use and management of forestland. For more information about AFA programs, look online at www.arkforests.org.   

 

 

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