Article #57, March 2002
By Bill Cook
The forests of the Upper Peninsula, Michigan, and the United States continue to be in good shape by most measures. Michigan forests continue to have national and global significance. These forests possess attributes that make them very special. The forestry profession continues to adapt and improve with new information and changing public demands. Forest management has been responsible for a large part of our high forest quality.
We are not running out of trees. Forest area and timber volumes have increased over time, especially in Michigan.
Today’s American forest is about two-thirds the size it was in 1600.
By far, the largest reason for deforestation was agriculture, mostly prior to 1920.
Most of America’s timberland area and volume lie east of the Mississippi.
Forests cover 53 percent of Michigan and 83 percent of the U.P.
Michigan has the fifth largest timberland area in the USA.
Michigan has the second largest state-owned area of timberland in the USA.
The U.P. has more timberland than 21 states.
The volume of sawtimber sized trees has grown by 35 percent in the U.P. and 56 percent in Michigan since 1980.
Michigan has 11.5 billion trees.
If all the wood in Michigan were cut into cords and laid side by side, the pile would circle the Earth over 10 times. The wood in the U.P. would circle the Earth over 4.5 times.
Over a half million acres of Michigan forest have been reserved.
Each day, every person uses about 4.5 pounds of wood, the equivalent of almost half of a 2 by 4.
Michigan harvests less wood per acre than Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Annual tree growth in Michigan far exceeds the annual harvest.
Arguably, the greatest threats to Michigan forests are housing sprawl and invasive exotic species.
Biology and ecology are primary drivers in forest management systems.
Clearcutting is just as essential to good forestry as selection management.
Michigan has about 575 species of vertebrates (animals with backbones).
Creating many forest types and sizes is one key element in wildlife habitat management.
The five most common Michigan tree species are sugar maple, red maple, quaking aspen, cedar, and northern red oak. In the U.P., swap balsam fir for red oak.
Almost half the number of tree species in the U.P. forest are exotics.
The tallest recorded tree in Michigan is a 201 foot white pine in Marquette County.
Out of 15 major Michigan forest types, northern hardwoods (maple-beech-basswood) have the greatest number of tree species. The tamarack type has the least. The aspen type has the fourth highest number of tree species.
Trees produce and consume both carbon dioxide and oxygen. The purpose of photosynthesis is to produce sugar, not oxygen.
Wood is by far the most environmentally friendly raw material to extract and process. Better yet, it is renewable.
Michigan forest industry is valued at about nine billion dollars. Just the value of harvested products is worth over $500 million each year. Forest industry employs over 150,000 people. Most of these jobs are well paying and located in the southern part of the State.
There are at least 700 foresters in Michigan, along with hundreds of other natural resource professionals.
Government (federal, state, local) owns 35 percent of Michigan timberland. Corporations own 19 percent. The remainder is owned by individuals and groups. In the U.P., governments and corporations own 72 percent of the timberland.
Forests are a valuable part of our economy and lifestyle. Managing them well will best guarantee the continued health and productivity of our forests. For more information about forests and forestry, try the Michigan Forests Forever Teachers Guide on the Internet at: www.dsisd.k12.mi.us/mff.
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Bill Cook is an MSU Extension forester providing educational programming for the entire Upper Peninsula. His office is located at the MSU Upper Peninsula Tree Improvement Center near Escanaba. The Center is the headquarters for three MSU Forestry properties in the U.P., with a combined area of about 8,000 acres. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 906-786-1575.
by Bill Cook, Forester/Biologist, Michigan State University Extension, 6005
J Road, Escanaba, MI 49829
906-786-1575 (voice), 906-786-9370 (fax), e-mail: email@example.com
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Last update of this page was 22 September, 2005
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