Virginia forest assessment provides good news with a cautionary note

“Virginia’s forests are healthy, abundant, and provide many environmental and economic benefits.”

Growth in Virginia’s forests exceeds harvests, which is good for carbon sequestration and forest sustainability according to the Center for Natural Resources Assessment and Decision Support in the College of Natural Resources and Environment. However, the center’s assessment of the commercial wood supply in Virginia revealed significant pressure on younger trees commonly used for manufacturing paper, wood pellets, and some wood composites.

More than 60 percent of Virginia’s land is forested. Forests provide highly valued recreational and environmental resources, and forest-related industries account for 104,000 jobs in the state.

The center focused its research on the privately owned forest resource, which provides more than 95 percent of the state’s commercial wood supply. Of Virginia’s 914 million tons of wood on private lands, about 92 percent is potentially available for commercial purposes.

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