When forests reach the headlines, the news is rarely good. Moreover, when forests are the topic of one of those fundraising appeals that appear periodically in the mailbox, the news is never good.
Messages in the media and bulk mail notwithstanding, what are the trends in U.S. forests? This report examines national forest statistics as gathered by on-the-ground forest survey crews representing federal land management agencies and state departments of natural resources, and as summarized by forest survey specialists in the nation’s forest experiment stations. Based on this data, it turns out the current reality is far better than commonly reported, though the trends are not uniformly positive. Over time, and in region after region, what the data indicate is a remarkable record of dynamic growth and forest renewal following disturbance. However, several important indicators suggest problems ahead.