Why We Need Healthy Forests

Forests are valuable on many different levels. They have long fueled the economy, providing goods ranging from basic building materials to fine, wood furnishings and even non-timber forest products like gourmet mushrooms and medicinal herbs.

Forests also provide a range of additional, equally important benefits such as recreational sanctuary, wildlife habitat, and environmental services that filter air and water, regulate temperature, and support diverse plant life.

Forests play a major role in everyone’s daily life, regardless of where they live — a particularly important fact in Kentucky since nearly half of the state is forested.

As a forest landowner, your management decisions reach far beyond the boundaries of your property. Poor management practices often lead to negative consequences such as reduction in future property value or contamination of drinking water. Forests and watersheds are interconnected — your neighbors’ forest practices directly affect your backyard. In fact, irresponsible logging practices can affect land and water quality well into your great-grandchildren’s lives.


The Changing Landscape

Forest degradation and liquidation has been linked conclusively with climate change, increased flooding and fire, and irrevocable loss of both plant and animal species. Catastrophes linked to poor management practices and forest decline are among those found most often in the news. As a forest landowner, it’s becoming increasingly apparent the forest you own is integral to helping maintaining clean water and air not just in Kentucky but the surrounding region as well.

Unfortunately, Kentucky’s forests face a myriad of challenges from both natural and human disturbances. These disturbances may have long-range impacts on the productivity of your forest and the environment. Understanding at least some of the potential impacts of these challenges and being able to identify them is vital to helping ensure your forest’s long-term health.


Large format version of the Kentucky Then and Now map (PDF 3.58 MB) courtesy of the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission.


Did you find this information useful?