Trees are our only renewable resource; they are beautiful, provide shade, and produce oxygen so we can breathe clean air. They enhance the wildlife habitat, and they are used to build the homes we live in. Trees are essential to our daily lives which is why we must manage and maintain healthy forests.
Trees are used in over 5,000 products that we use on a daily basis. Such products range from medicine, to camera film, and even chewing gum. Trees surround our daily lives from the beautiful landscape they create to the paper we use to write on; they are truly valuable.
Thanks to technology, we are able to use trees more efficiently without any waste. Today, the entire tree is used for the production of numerous things, from the trunks for lumber to the tops that are cut into chips and used for fuel to run the mills, or even fluff for baby diapers. Lumber that is produced goes to build homes, boats, furniture, etc. Even the chemical makeup of trees is used to produce items like paint, deodorants, cosmetics, and artificial vanilla flavoring.
North Carolina has approximately 20 million acres of forest land, and 67% of that land is privately owned. We have 60 different commercial species in North Carolina, and the Forest Products Industry accounts for approximately 30 billion dollars annually. Our state is the nation’s leader in furniture production for both household furniture and upholstered furniture.
North Carolina has a rich heritage in forestry; in fact, it is known as the birthplace of Forestry thanks to William Henry Vanderbilt who employed Gifford Pinchot to first implement the practice of planting a commercial crop of trees. Even the nickname “Tar Heel State” was given to us because we led the world in the production of turpentine for 150 years from 1720-1870. This turpentine came from the sap of Longleaf Pine trees and was used to seal ships to make them sea worthy.
As you can see, trees are very important to our way of life, and the great thing is that they are renewable and can be reproduced, re-harvested, and replanted time and time again. The need for us to continue to manage our forest and keep them healthy and productive isvitally important. We should be diligent and careful to make sure that this valuable resource is always abundant and readily available.