America's richly, diverse forests provide vital products and amenities to our society including quality habitat for wildlife, biodiversity of plant and animal communities, clean water, aesthetic benefits, and recreational opportunities. Timely reforestation following harvest or a major catastrophic event to restore forest cover on denuded lands is often important to maintaining forest ecosystems and deriving associated ecological, social, and economic benefits.
Reforestation is the natural or intentional restocking of existing forests and woodlands that have been depleted. Reforestation can be used to improve the quality of human life by soaking up pollution and dust from the air, rebuild natural habitats and ecosystems, mitigate global warming since forests facilitate biosequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, and harvest for resources, particularly timber. The term reforestation is the process of restoring and recreating areas of woodlands or forests that may have existed previously but were otherwise removed at some point in the past. Timber on the land is a crop. Although not grown in a short rotation as row crops, timber production can easily be considered a growing crop.
Once all the timber on a tract is removed this area needs to be considered for the most effective means to reforest the site according to the current ground and site conditions. This inclues recent clear-cuts or open areas which can be reforested allowing the new stand to thrive.
There are different types of reforestation; direct seeding, which is very seldom done any more, hand planting, which is the most popular, machine planting, which typically is a very clean area or site.
Typically Loblolly Pine is the predominate species reforested, however several other species of pine dependently upon the area, such as Slash Pine and Long Leaf Pine are planted on a limited basis. Hardwood, Bald Cypress and wildlife trees or even specialty plantings can be performed also.
Site Prep is sometimes necessary to eliminate competition species. Site Prep allows the new seedlings a better and less competative start. By increasing the growth rate of new seedlings one can increase the value associated with the new stand. Site prep can be as basic as a burn of the area, chemical application to kill the site or heavy equipment can be used to alter the site for a specific planting or species.
Recently state forest nurseries and private industry have greatly improved the genetics of the tree seedlings. The improved genetics typically increase the growth rate and the overall quality of the timber at maturity. There are tax advantages to reforestation cost and timber stand improvement cost. Local county Ad Valorum taxes are charged whether your land is growing a crop of trees or not. Why not have your land grow something for your future.