Forest inventory: Forest land covers 12.4 millon acres in Kentucky

Forest area remains same, growth rate still greater than removal rate

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 8, 2012) —Forest land in Kentucky covers an estimated 12.4 million acres, according to a Forest Inventory Analysis (FIA) Factsheet recently released by the USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station.

The report — a compilation of data collected by the Kentucky Division of Forestry’s FIA program – also included information about forest composition, common trees, forest land ownership, standing-tree wood volume and average growth and removals.

“Kentucky’s forest resources have shown very little fluctuation since the previous annual inventory,” said Leah MacSwords, director for the Kentucky Division of Forestry.  “In fact, Kentucky’s landscape has remained on average about 45 percent forested for the past 50 years.”

One of the most important indicators listed in the report is growth to removal. The report notes that Kentucky’s forests are producing two times more wood volume than is being removed. While wood-using industries have been affected by the slowing economy, Kentucky’s forests continue to “stand ready” for economic development opportunities in rural areas of the state.

“Although Kentucky’s forests are still growing more wood volume than is being lost to harvest, tree mortality, and other removals, it is crucial that sustainable forestry practices be utilized in order to maintain or improve growth rates,” said MacSwords.

Additional findings in the report include the following:

—11 million acres (or 88 percent) of Kentucky’s forest land is privately owned;

— The most common tree species is red maple, followed by sugar maple and yellow poplar;

— The oak-hickory forest-type represents three-fourths of all forests across the state;

— 93 percent of the standing volume in Kentucky is represented by hardwoods.

For more information contact the Kentucky Division of Forestry at 502-564-4496.

A full review of the report can be viewed on the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station’s website at http://www.srs.fs.fed.us/pubs/su/su_srs057.pdf.

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