The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

October 5, 2013

Foresters detail state’s woodlands


Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — What type of forest or woodlands is present in Oklahoma? What tree spe-cies? Is our forest healthy?

These and many other questions will be answered after a forest inventory and analysis (FIA) crew from Oklahoma Forestry Services collects data on plots in 13 Oklahoma counties. They will be working in Alfalfa, Blaine, Co-manche, Cotton, Custer, Garfield, Grant, Hughes, Jefferson, Kay, Major, Roger Mills and Stephens counties.

Foresters began this data collection in 2009. Each subsequent year, foresters continue gathering information about the amount of land under forest cover, the type of forests and tree species that are present, tree size, invasive species and forest health issues.

“Healthy forests and woodlands provide Okla-homa with many valuable goods and services,” said State Forester George Geis-sler.

“We are collecting information about our forests in all 77 counties which will improve our planning and management strategies and ensure our citizens receive the greatest benefit possible,” he said.

The analysis is conducted on randomly located plots across private, industrial and public lands and includes both forested and non-forested areas. Private landowners are contacted directly by mail if a plot falls on their land. The information gathered from this analysis determines the status of the local forest resource and shows trends seen in the forests of Oklahoma. This data also contributes to similar nationwide efforts of the USDA Forest Service.

“The information we collect is added to the national database to give policymakers the data they need to make informed decisions for the future of our forest resources,” said FIA Co-ordinator Carri Abner. “We appreciate landowners al-lowing us access to their land so we will have an accurate assessment of Oklahoma’s trees and forests.”

Crews will travel in marked Oklahoma Depart-ment of Agriculture, Food and Forestry vehicles and will carry proper identification with them.

Landowners and lessees can assist in this endeavor by granting crews access to property if an FIA plot falls on their land, as well as telling others about the program.

They also are welcome to be present when the crew is conducting the measurements on their property.

For information, call Carri Abner at (918) 290-9208 or email carri.abner@ag.ok.gov.