This week in Ashville, North Carolina, forestry officials from across the Southern United States unveiled a new web application that will help communities, investors and wood buyers determine the supply of available forest resources in a given area and make more informed decisions on where to locate wood-based businesses in the South.
Developed by the Southern Group of State Foresters and the USDA Forest Service, the Southern Timber Supply Analysis web application, accessible at southerntimbersupply.com, uses maps that allow users to estimate the amount of timberland, standing timber, and growth and removals within a user-specified distance or trucking time of any site in the Southern United States. Data is derived from Forest Inventory and Analysis, a USDA Forest Service program conducted in partnership with state forestry agencies, and shows areas that have an abundant and sustainable supply of forest resources.
“This powerful application provides us with an understanding of existing resource and economic conditions and gives us the ability to easily share that information in context with the right people,” said Southern Group of State Foresters Chairman Scott Bissette, assistant commissioner, North Carolina Forest Service.
The digital tool is free, readily accessible and generates reports and insights that can easily be shared. Users can proactively recruit wood-based businesses to the South, identify focus areas for restoration efforts and make stronger, more informed decisions on behalf of the Southern economy.
The Southern Timber Supply Analysis web application is the first of its kind in the nation, granting public access to timber supply data in a user-friendly format to anyone with access to the internet.
“This tool could be a game changer in attracting and growing more forest-based businesses to the South,” said Bissette.
The South accounts for over half of timber production in the United States. The region boasts more than 250 million forested acres, 87 percent of which are privately-owned, across 13 states — each with its own unique mix of wood resources, manufacturing innovations and investment opportunities.
According to a recent report, forestry contributes $251 billion in economic activity, 1,117,230 jobs and $53.9 billion in labor income to the Southern economy.
The Southern Timber Supply Analysis web application is a project of the Southern Group of State Foresters. It was funded in part by the USDA Forest Service and developed by Texas A&M Forest Service for the 13 southern states.
For more information on the Southern Timber Supply Analysis web application and how the Southern Group of State Foresters supports forest-based economic development, visit southernforests.org/services.