LITTLE ROCK — According to the 2017 Forest Inventory and Analysis report, Arkansas’s forests continue to thrive with forested acreage remaining steady at 19 million acres, 56% of the state’s total land area. Data for the report is collected through the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program, a collaborative partnership of the U. S. Forest Service Southern Research Station and state forestry agencies. FIA foresters with the Arkansas Agriculture Department’s Forestry Commission (AFC) conduct measurements that provide valuable data including updates to forest growth, damage, mortality, health, biomass, ownership trends, timber availability, and land use trends. The 2017 Arkansas FIA report is available, here<https://www.aad.arkansas.gov/Websites/aad/files/Content/5950774/2017_Forest_Facts_of_Arkansas.pdf>.
Arkansas forest highlights included in the annual FIA report include:
* Arkansas is home to approximately 11.9 billion trees.
* 69% of Arkansas forestland is owned by private, non-industrial landowners
* Since 1978, Arkansas forestland has increased by more than one million acres.
* In terms of forest composition, the two largest forest types are a hardwood mixture of oak and hickory species (41%); and pine species (31%).
* Pine accounts for 42% of the state’s total tree volume.
* Hardwood accounts for 58% of the state’s total tree volume.
* Arkansas contains the largest National Forest area in the South with 2.5 million acres within the Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests.
* The most heavily forested county in Arkansas remains Dallas County.
* The least forested county in Arkansas remains Mississippi County.
* The growth rate for hardwood and pine trees continues to be greater than the removal rate.
“This data is the only statewide forestry-specific information of its kind. It is paramount to forestry and conservation agencies who monitor forest health and protect us from wildfires, and to forest industry partners seeking locations for growth based on the availability of high quality timber,” says State Forester Joe Fox. “This data proves that Arkansas forests are healthy, productive, and fast-growing, which makes us the prime location for new investments, partnerships, and products for the forest industry in the south.”
FIA data is obtained from more than 4,000 permanent inventory plots across the state. FIA foresters collect measurements on 20% of the plots annually and generate state-specific forest data that is reported to the U. S. Forest Service Southern Research Station. Compare FIA reports dating back to 2009, and see full forest inventory reports as far back as 1970 through the Southern Research Station, here<https://www.aad.arkansas.gov/forest-data>.
The AAD is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its farmers and ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of the state and nation. Visit www.agriculture.arkansas.gov<http://www.agriculture.arkansas.gov>.