Timberland Increases in Alabama

17 June 2015

Alabama’s Timberland Acreage Increases to 23 Million Acres

All it takes is a drive down virtually any road in Alabama for one to come to the conclusion that there is an abundance of timberland – commercial forestland – in the state. This conclusion is substantiated by 2014 Forest Inventory & Analysis (FIA) data which shows that the amount of timberland in Alabama has increased to an all-time high of 23 million acres. The only states in the nation having more timberland than Alabama are Georgia and Oregon. These 23 million acres of timberland account for 69 percent of Alabama’s total area, an increase of 360,000 acres since the year 2000.

Despite the perception of some that trees and forests are vanishing, FIA data also shows an increase in timber volume over previous years. The fact is that the amount of timber growth exceeds the amount of timber being harvested annually. More specifically, for every ton of timber harvested, 1.55 tons of new growth are added to our forests each year. Total timber volume has increased 18.7 percent since 2000 to a total of 1.17 billion tons. Softwood timber volume (primarily pine species) has increased 31.1 percent, while hardwood timber volume has increased 7.6 percent. “The annualized inventory of Alabama’s forests continues to show that all the benefits we derive from our vast forests – wood products, clean water, clean air, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities – can be managed in a sustainable way. The fact that more land is being put into timberland is icing on the cake,” says State Forester Greg Pate.

Another common misperception is that Alabama’s timberland is dominated by pine trees. Yes, there are a considerable number of pines in the state, but the number of timberland acres comprised of hardwood stands is virtually identical to the number of acres composed of pine stands. Currently, there are 9.87 million acres of timberland inhabited predominantly by hardwood tree species, while another 9.90 million acres are comprised primarily of pine tree species. The remaining 3.23 million acres are home to a mixture of hardwood and softwood tree species.

For the full report pertaining to the current status of Alabama’s forest resources, visit the Alabama Forestry Commission’s website at http://www.forestry.alabama.gov/PDFs/alabamaForestResourceReport.pdf.

Contact: Brian Hendricks

Telephone: (334) 240-9370