With troubling headlines in the news about invasive species like the hemlock wooly adelgid and Asian longhorned beetle, many people have been understandably concerned about the health of Michigan’s forests in recent years. But although our state’s forests do face some considerable threats, there is some good news to be had, too. According to data from the Department of Natural Resources and the U.S Forest Service, Michigan’s forests are growing older, with larger trees covering more acreage across the state.
In total, Michigan is home to about 20 million acres of forest which cover more than 50 percent of the state.
This is the largest volume of forested land Michigan has had in the past few decades. In general, these forests are growing older, with high concentrations of mature, large-diameter trees. There are an estimated 14 billion trees in the state that are over one inch in diameter. When taking into account natural growth, mortality and forest removals, Michigan’s forest inventory is increasing at a rate of about 300,000 acres per year.
It’s also interesting to note that about two-thirds of all the forested land in Michigan is owned by families and individuals. About 190,000 of these privately-owned parcels of forested land are 10 acres or larger in size.
There will always be more work to do to protect the health of our forests, but it’s comforting to know that, in general, Michigan’s forests are experiencing positive growth. To learn more about what you can do to support nearby forests, visit the Michigan DNR website here.