New Study Reveals Texas is Second in Total Forest Land

According to an ongoing timber survey in Texas by the Texas Forest Service in cooperation with the Southern Research Station of the USDA Forest Service, Texas is number two. Texas Forest Service officials are reporting that the timber survey of the entire state of Texas indicates Texas ranks second only to the state of Alaska in forest land.

The inventory involves surveying trees well beyond what is traditionally considered the heart of Texas forests, the Piney Woods of East Texas, indicating that there are roughly 60 million acres of forest land in Texas. The inventory will actually last ten years—from 2004 to 2014—and despite being a little more than halfway through the process, the Texas Forest Service expects the results to remain steady. After this inventory has been completed, another inventory will be conducted to compare data.

The survey is the first comprehensive statewide tree count in Texas history and it clearly demonstrates that the forests of Texas account for roughly 23 percent of the woodlands of the southern United States.

Data from the Texas Forest Service Survey

East Texas (12 million acres):
• Pine – 5.3 million (43 percent)
• Hardwood – 5.4 million (44 percent)
• Mixed – 1.5 million (13 percent)

The Rest of Texas (48 million acres):
• Juniper/Pine – 9.3 million (19 percent)
• Mesquite – 17 million (35 percent)
• Oaks/various hardwoods – 21.8 million (46 percent)

The expansiveness of Texas forests coupled with the extensive network of waterways and bodies of water make much of Texas ideal wildlife habitat, although a recent hard-hitting drought and numerous massive wild fires in Texas have done damage to the Texas ecosystem. According to data released by the Texas Forest Service in October 2011, recent wildfires in Texas destroyed nearly 4 million acres of Texas’s 60 million acres of forest land.

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