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
A few sassafras trees across Mississippi have started to show signs of dieback, and Mississippi State University is asking for help in identifying affected trees. The trees are suspected of having laurel wilt, a disease caused by a fungus that has already proven deadly to the state’s redbay trees. The fungus is carried by the redbay ambrosia beetle, an invasive species native to Asia.
Choosing, cutting, and bringing home a real Christmas tree is a fun tradition for many families during the holiday season. Around 32,000 Christmas trees are sold in Mississippi each year! Whether you go to a Christmas tree farm or to a local retail store, you’ll likely be presented with a few options to choose from.
With rising prices everywhere, families may expect to pay more for their choose-and-cut Christmas trees this year. But that may not be the case. Mississippi Christmas tree growers faced some challenges in 2021 with weather conditions and price hikes for many of their inputs. However, many growers may decide not to pass those costs on to consumers of their choose-and-cut Christmas trees.
Curtis VanderSchaaf joined the Mississippi State University Extension Service in the southwest region as a forestry specialist with regional and statewide duties. He also is a faculty member in the MSU Department of Forestry.
If you celebrate with a real tree, you’ll have to decide how to dispose of it once the holiday is over. You have some good options for recycling the tree instead of sending it to the landfill.
Drew Sullivan admits his first timber tract would not have fetched an appraiser’s attention, but he usually drove back home from a lumber yard in Kemper County each week with around $150 in his pocket— not bad for a 15-year-old Mississippi boy growing up in the mid-90s.
During his tenure as an engineer at Boeing, Ottis Bullock helped build machines that went into the air and to the moon, but he always had an interest in the trees that grew from the ground where he came of age.