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Forest Timeline
Ice Age
Logging Era
Modern Forestry



  The forests of Michigan are regularly inventoried by the U.S. Forest Service, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and various industries.  The U.S. Forest Service data is generally considered as offering the best "picture" of our forest resources on a statewide basis.  Inventories were conducted in 1935, 1955, 1966, 1980, and 1993.  Some of the highlights of these inventories and other inventories are as follows. 


  1.   About 55% of Michigan is forested, a 7% increase since 1980. (see map)
  2.   Michigan timberland acreage is the seventh largest in the United States.
  3.   "Timberland" is forest where timber harvesting has not been prohibited by law or regulation (such as federal wilderness areas).  Nearly 600,000 acres (about the size of a two counties) have been set aside.
  4.   Ownership: Individuals-46%, State-23%, Federal-15%, Corporate-14%, Other 3%. 
  5.   There are more big trees now than in the last 50 years (or more).
  6.   All the wood, if piled into a stack 8 feet wide and 4 feet all, would stretch over 250,000 miles, or around the Earth 10 times!
  7.   Between 1980 and 2010, the pile increased 35 percent (191,000 miles to over 250,000 miles).  This is especially true for sawtimber-sized trees.
  8.   Michigan has the greatest amount of forest growth in the nation, each year adding about 6500 miles to the pile.
  9.   The most common tree is Michigan is sugar maple, followed by red maple, northern white cedar, red pine, and quaking aspen.
  10.   Upland hardwoods, especially maple-beech-basswood forests, make up over half the Michigan forest.   These forest types are increasing, while other types are decreasing.  (pie chart)
  11.   Each year, for every thousand trees in the forest, 24 new trees grow, 12 trees are harvested, and 9 die naturally.


ChartForDistrib.jpg (60945 bytes)FOREST DISTRIBUTION

Most of Michigan's forest lies within the northern two-thirds of the state.  More of the land in the south is covered with farms, cities, and roads.  However, no matter where you live in Michigan, you're not more than a half-hour drive from a forest.

While most of Michigan's forest lies in the north, most of the wood-based forest industries are in the south.   This has a lot to do with how Michigan was settled and our history unfolded.

Today, Michigan forests continue to be an important part of our economy.  Most experts think that the industry is worth over nine billion dollars!







ChartOwner.jpg (28103 bytes)OWNERSHIP CHART

Forest management varies by ownership.  Ownership patterns change over time.  More people are buying forest land, so the average-sized ownership is becoming increasingly smaller.  This often makes management more difficult.

"Individuals" are regular people who own camps or forest land for any other reason.
State" includes state forests, parks, and other properties.
Federal" includes mostly national forests.
Corporate" means companies that own forest land but do not have a wood-using mill.
Forest Industry" are corporations that own a wood-using mill.






ChartForType.jpg (38374 bytes)FOREST TYPE CHART

Michigan forests can be sorted in five general kinds of forests.  The most common type is upland hardwoods. These are forests of maple, oak, hickory, and paper birch. 

Upland conifers are species such as pines, balsam fir, and white spruce.  Swamp conifers are tamarack, black spruce, and white cedar.

Swamp hardwoods are elms, ash, cottonwood, and balm-of-Gilead.

Aspen is mostly quaking aspen and bigtooth aspen.








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