Every two minutes, the U.S. Hardwood forest grows by the size of a football field? How do we know? The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service began accumulating data in the early 1950s and the Department continues to systematically gather, analyze and provide information regarding the health, general conditions and trends affecting America’s forests.
And, Did You Know?
- Hardwood growth far exceeds removal. The USDA Forest Service reports that since 1953, the net volume of U.S. hardwoods increased by 131 percent. And average annual growth exceeds removal by a ratio of 2.3:1.
- Most hardwoods are growing in the eastern half of the country; the equivalent of hardwood trees—oaks, maples, cherry, ash, poplar and scores of other hardwood species—covering every square inch of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia, Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia.
- In hardwood forests, trees reproduce naturally and prolifically. Young trees sprout from roots, stumps and seeds, assuring the continued diversity of hardwood species and ages in the forest. Some species have been and will continue to be relatively more plentiful than others because that’s how they occur in nature.
Much documentation—available at www.fs.fed.us/research/sustain/—including the “Forest Service 2020 Resources Planning Act Assessment” tells us that we are not running out of trees. If anything, the resource is being underutilized and is neither scarce nor finite.