Foresters launches new Web site

From the desk of Sam Irwin:

Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said the Southern Group of State Foresters (SGSF) has debuted its new Web site at

"The Southern Group of State Foresters is letting the public know about forestry and the multi-billion dollar forest industry in the 13 southern states and two federal territories that comprise the SGSF," Strain said.

"This is not just a complete redesign," said SGSF Chairman and State Forester of Virginia Carl E. Garrison III.  "The new site has more up-to-date information about the state of forestry in the South, and it's much more intuitive so that visitors to the site can find information more easily."

Louisiana State Forester Wade Dubea said the South is recognized as America's wood basket with more privately owned forestland (nearly 200 million acres) than anywhere in the country.  The region stretches from Texas to Virginia; Oklahoma to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

"Forestry is an integral part of Louisiana's economy," Dubea said.

"There are a lot of forestry facts that would surprise most Americans," Garrison said.  "For example, the forest products industry in the South generates more than $200 billion a year in sales.

"Also, the Western United States gets the bulk of the news coverage regarding wildland fires, but there are more wildland fires each year in the Southern U.S. than anywhere in the nation. The South loses an average of 35,000 acres of timberland annually to wildfire. These are but a couple of the items of interest found in the new SGSF Web site."

In addition to the dollar value of the wood products, the South's forests provide clean water, clean air, moderate the effects of climate change, sequester carbon dioxide, provide wildlife habitat and offer a range of recreational opportunities.  To learn more about forests in the South, visit