Texas is usually portrayed on the movie screen as a very large state made up of wide open spaces, but the reality is that Texas is home to sixty three million acres of forest land, and forestry is a huge industry in our state.
“Most people know us. They know us because of the wild fires, especially this year with the drought, and with the wild fires we’ve had but we’re tied to agriculture in a very real way because of the timber industry in Texas and it’s a huge industry. It’s like twenty three billion dollar total impact of forestry across this economy of Texas.”
Tom Boggus is the director of the Texas Forest Service.
“That’s one hundred seventeen thousand jobs, primarily in east Texas, but you think about forestry, it’s not just the logger and the saw mill. You go to cabinet making, you go to pellet mills and bio mass industry, energy industry so there are a lot of facets to forestry.”
Urban forestry is a big part of the forest industry.
“You go up anywhere on any multi-story building in the Brazos Valley, especially in Bryan College Station, you’re going to see a canopy of trees, and you go to Austin, you’re going to see a canopy of trees, and so urban forestry where most of our folks live is real important and that’s a really good way to tie urbanites back to agriculture.”
Most of the clean water in the United States comes off forested water sheds.
“Texas is no different. There’s a lot of water purification, clean air, people always talk about how trees and forests help purify the air and give us oxygen. So things like that are important to folks in their daily lives.”
Cellulose is used for fiber to make clothes.
“Well that comes from trees. You think about the fruits and nuts, the things that we eat in agriculture come from the forest. Apples, pecans in Texas, it’s a big deal. Those are trees, those aren’t bushes.”
And yes, as Texas’ top forester, Boggus is a tree advocate.
“Like I said, trees are the answer, what’s your question?”
I’m Shel Winkley, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.