Forestry in Mississippi
Caring for Our Forests
Our forests provide recreational opportunities, encourage tourism, and create environmental benefits such as excellent water quality, cleaner air, improved wildlife habitat and the storage of atmospheric carbon. Sixty-five percent of Mississippi’s land is in forests, and 70% of that land is owned by private, nonindustrial landowners (individuals and families). Our landowners care deeply for our state’s forest resource, and they are responsibility managing their lands in a sustainable manner to benefit future generations. This is demonstrated by the fact that Mississippi ranks number one in the nation in the number of Certified Tree Farms with more than 3,200.
Our forest landowners know that promoting sustainable forest management, reforestation after harvest, and keeping our forests productive have strategic long-term economic benefits for Mississippi, as well. Timber is a very important commodity in Mississippi. The total value of Mississippi’s timber harvest is approximately $1 billion per year. In 2008, the total forest industry impact on Mississippi’s economy was about $17.4 billion. Forestry and forestry-related employment accounts for 8.5% of all jobs in Mississippi (totaling over 123,000 jobs) and pays out $4.4 billion in wages, annually.
Every year, our forest landowners plant and grow more trees than are actually harvested. Mississippi has 19.8 million acres of forestland. That is 1.1 million more acres than in 1992 and 3.6 million more than in 1934. Contrary to popular belief, this acreage is not all pine plantations. The majority of our state’s forestlands (46%) are hardwood, and 15% are mixed oak and pine.
Mississippi is a forestry leader. The first ever comprehensive state-sponsored forest resources inventory began in 2004. Mississippi was also the first state in the nation to establish a reforestation tax credit, helping landowners with expenses associated with the stewardship of forestland and encouraging them to replant after harvest.
For more information about forestry in Mississippi, visit the Mississippi Forestry Association.
Sustainable Forestry Initiative
Launched in 1994, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) is an independent, non-profit organization responsible for maintaining, overseeing, and improving a sustainable forestry certification program. Today, the SFI program is internationally recognized, and is the largest single forest standard in the world.
Certifying nearly 200 million acres of forestland, the SFI program is based on the premise that responsible environmental behavior and sound business decisions can successfully co-exist. Implementation committees at the state, provincial, and regional levels promote the SFI forest standards as a means to broaden the practice of responsible forestry and achieve on-the-ground progress. This unique grassroots network involves private landowners, independent loggers, forestry professionals, local government agencies, academics, scientists, and conservationists.
SFI program participants practice sustainable forestry on all the lands they manage and purchase raw materials through an SFI approved procurement system. Millions of additional acres are influenced through SFI logger and forester training, and through an extensive landowner outreach program.
The commitment to sustainable forestry recognizes that all forest landowners, not just SFI program participants, play a critical role in ensuring the long-term health and sustainability of our forests.
SFI Activities in Mississippi
- Logger Education Mississippi’s Continuing Education for Professional Loggers Program presents workshops in Best Management Practices (BMPs) and other topics. Since the program began in 1996, more than 600 workshops have been held, attracting more than 25,000 participants.
- Landowner Education The Mississippi SFI State Implementation Committee (SIC) sponsors landowner education programs conducted by the Extension Forestry Program of Mississippi State University to promote the use of voluntary BMPs and the replanting of timberlands.
- Public Outreach The Mississippi SFISIC, in cooperation with the Mississippi Forestry Association (MFA), sponsors the MFA Teachers Conservation Workshop, the Mississippi Children’s Museum and other public awareness activities to promote sustainable forestry. Program information, publications, and the annual SFI progress report to the public are available on the SFI website.
- Inconsistent Practices In Mississippi, the SFISIC has developed a confidential process to receive, respond to, and follow-up to any complaint of practices inconsistent with the SFI standard by SFI program participants.
2010-2014 SFI Standards of Sustainability
- Sustainable Forestry
- Forest Productivity & Health
- Protection of Water Resources
- Protection of Biological Diversity
- Aesthetics & Recreation
- Protection of Special Sites
- Responsible Fiber Sourcing in North America
- Avoidance of Controversial Sources including Illegal Logging in Offshore Fiber Sourcing
- Legal Compliance
- Training & Education
- Public Involvement
- Continual Improvement