Mississippi has about 18.5 million acres of forestland, which amounts to about 62 percent of the state's land area. Almost 70 percent of this forestland is owned by private, nonindustrial landowners, with more than 150,000 people owning 20 acres or more of forestland. Each landowner may have a different set of forest management objectives, so management decisions should be tailored to the needs of the landowner as well as the objectives and capability of the land.
Mississippi has highly productive forests because of good soils, a long growing season, and abundant rainfall. These highly productive forests, combined with recent increases in timber prices and a high percentage of private ownership, result in forestland ownership being a significant family asset. Mississippi's forests are funding children's college education, providing for people in their old age, and enabling a lifestyle many would not have had otherwise.
A key to successful forest management is a written management plan in which landowners define their management objectives, inventory their current forest resources, and plan activities to accomplish objectives consistent with existing resources. The management plan, once developed, should be followed unless conditions warrant changes. Thus, a management plan is a "living" document that landowners are constantly developing, implementing, reviewing, and revising with appropriate professional advice.
Forest management in Mississippi is complex due to diverse forest types, different ownership objectives, tract histories, and other factors. Forest Management includes the following:
Frequently Asked Questions
SAUCIER, Miss. -- Larry Haley has no problem selling his Christmas trees each November.
In fact, he has to set a limit on how many he can spare and stop once he reaches that number to maintain a steady inventory. His target this year is about 300 choose-and-cut trees before Thanksgiving.
"A couple of years ago, I got in trouble because I sold too many in one season and almost depleted the next year's stock," he said. "Last year, we started holding fields back for a season so that doesn’t happen again."
SAUCIER, Miss. -- Christmas tree growers in Mississippi expect a 7 percent increase in sales this year, but unfavorable spring and fall weather may hurt future supplies.
Stephen Dicke, a forestry professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said growers successfully controlled insect and disease problems this year. However, a wet spring followed by a dry summer and early fall caused some growers to lose up to half of their 1-year-old trees.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- According to the National Christmas Tree Association, American consumers purchase nearly 30 million real trees annually from one of more than 15,000 Christmas tree farms. Real-tree enthusiasts cite three main reasons for their yearly choice: tradition, fresh pine scent and appearance.
Selecting a real tree is also an environmentally friendly choice. Real Christmas trees are 100 percent biodegradable and can be recycled in a variety of ways.
The National Christmas Tree Association offers these little-known facts about real trees:
RAYMOND -- Consumers who want Mississippi-grown Christmas trees to deck their halls should shop early for the best selection every year.
“Choose-and-cut Christmas tree production in Mississippi is fairly flat because there are growers each year who retire,” said Stephen Dicke, a forestry professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “Growers still in the business are producing more trees each year, but demand in heavily populated counties is much higher than the supply of trees.”
I hope everyone has Christmas traditions that their family looks forward to each year. One of the traditions I enjoyed growing up in the Great White North was going to get the Christmas tree.
Sometimes we went to one of tree lots that sprang up on corners like cold-weather weeds. Other times we drove out to the country and picked a tree to cut. It was like going hunting and bringing back the bounty. I grew up bringing home Fraser fir, balsam fir or Colorado blue spruce.