Each year in America, we grow twice as much hardwood as we harvest. Responsible forestry ensures that all the trees we treasure will be abundant for generations. In fact, experts project there will be 70% more of such species as oak, cherry, ash and maple over the next half century.

Nature takes care of most of this renewal. An oak forest, for instance, produces millions of acorns, ensuring that supplemental plantings are generally unnecessary.

When hardwoods are harvested, foresters typically choose individual or small groups of mature trees and leave standing a wide range of others. Such selective cutting encourages and supports new growth by allowing sun, moisture and nutrients to reach small trees. The saplings respond vigorously, growing to heights of five to seven metres in just five years.

The caretakers of our priceless hardwood resource are a diverse group. Our nation’s tree farmers are corporate CEOs and truck drivers, physicians and accountants, multi-national corporations and individual families, the forest industry and the local state and federal governments.

Their dedication to the land has created a rebirth of our country’s woodlands.

Forestry professionals nurture forests that teem with wildlife, contribute significantly to a clean environment and provide endless recreational opportunities. A vigorous forest produces oxygen and filters carbon dioxide, dust and other impurities from the air. The roots of the trees absorb rainfall, returning much of it to the air through transpiration, cooling the atmosphere.

Successfully balancing the needs of the environment and wildlife while creating unique outdoor recreational opportunities, foresters also provide the most beautiful and natural woods to make our homes more attractive and comfortable – now and in the future.

  • Ms Regan died in March. Her column introduces our US hardwoods feature.