Monday, November 2, 2020

Foresters, Loggers, and Trees


At the 2020 Pennsylvania Farm Show the Hardwoods Development Council (HDC) hosted the Pennsylvania Hardwoods exhibit. The exhibit’s theme was Imagine the Opportunities of a Smaller Carbon Footprint. The exhibit was made possible by a collaboration between the HDC and the three Pennsylvania Hardwood Utilization Groups (HUGs): Allegheny Hardwood Utilization Group, Keystone Wood Products Association, and the Northern Tier Hardwood Association.

The Hardwoods exhibit featured seven educational displays, all pertaining to how implementing sustainable forestry practices and the use of hardwood products can help reduce one’s carbon footprint. This is the fourth in a series of seven articles. These articles will provide information pertaining to each of the seven themes that were displayed. One article will be provided monthly.

Article 5: Foresters, Loggers, and Trees

By Jonathan Geyer and Dave Jackson

The forest products industry begins in the forest with foresters and loggers. Foresters help forest landowners implement practices that lead to healthy, well-managed, sustainable forests. It is the Loggers job to harvest the trees the foresters indicated should be cut. Loggers are an essential link in helping to enhance the health of our forests, improve wildlife habitat, and provide the industry with raw material.

When foresters manage forests in a healthy, sustainable way, they sequester carbon, thus reducing air pollution. Photo by Jon Geyer

Pennsylvania’s professional timber harvesting workforce serves an essential role in ensuring the sustainability of our state’s forest resources. Each day they operate as the boots on the ground, carrying out critical management activities that supply our forest products industries with the raw material necessary to produce wood products. There is no other link in the wood fiber supply chain that has as much of a direct impact on the management of our state’s forests. As such, timber harvesters in Pennsylvania are vital stewards of our forestlands.

Since harvested wood can store carbon for hundreds of years in various products from furniture to flooring, logging, when done properly, enhances the health of our environment. Photo by Dave Jackson

The Commonwealth’s forest products industry has a $21.6 billion direct economic impact to the state’s economy. The industry has over 2,100 companies that employ more than 66,000 Pennsylvania’s. Of those, just under 3,000 are foresters and loggers. The industry depends on foresters and loggers to provide the wood resource that keeps the industry working.

Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation named for its forests. In Latin, Pennsylvania translates to “Penns Woods.” Roughly 740,000 Pennsylvanian’s own nearly 70% of the state’s forests. Photo by Dave Jackson

To help landowners make wise and informed decisions on how to manage their forests the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry has service foresters assigned to each county. Contact information for county service foresters can be found here. Besides service foresters, there are also private consulting foresters who work across the state. The Bureau of Forestry maintains a list of consulting foresters that can be found here. Penn State Extension is also a great resource for landowners, they provide various publications, trainings, webinars, and workshops on forest management. With the proper instruction, tools, and technical assistance, landowners can manage their land in ways that enhance the production of wood, wildlife, water, and recreation.

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