In the United States, which contains 8 percent of the world’s forests, there are more trees than there were 100 years ago. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), “Forest growth nationally has exceeded harvest since the 1940s. The greatest gains have been seen on the East Coast (with average volumes of wood per acre almost doubling since the ’50s) which was the area most heavily logged by European settlers beginning in the 1600s, soon after their arrival.
As a society, we are likely in the middle of our cultural (and scientific understanding) of the value of forests. The history of conservation in this country is still young, after all. According to Chuck Leavell, director of Environmental Affairs at MNN and a tree farmer, “It was during the Theodore Roosevelt administration that conservation began to take hold, and along with Roosevelt, figures like Gifford Pinchot, John Muir and others began to warn Americans about overuse of our natural resources. Eventually, programs were put into place that encouraged landowners to plant trees … in some cases encouraging farmers to convert some of their farm lands into forests.”
That makes for some happy tree-huggers out there!