Kiwanis forestry

From left, Laurel Kiwanis President Lowell Howell, Meacham Harlow of the Mississippi Forestry Commission and Kiwanis program chairman Bart Gavin. 

(Photo by Kiwanis Club of Laurel)

Members of the Kiwanis Club of Laurel heard an impressive presentation from Meacham Harlow on the activities of the Mississippi Forestry Commission at Wednesday’s regular meeting at the Laurel Country Club.

Harlow is the Region 4 Public Outreach Officer and Partnership Coordinator for the Urban and Community Forestry Program. She discussed MFC’s mission, which to provide forest protection, forest management, forest inventory and effective forest information distribution necessary for Mississippi’s sustainable forest-based economy. Several of the forestry facts presented include:

• Mississippi has 19.8 million forested acres.

• Forestland covers 65 percent of the geographical boundaries of Mississippi.

• Most of Mississippi’s forestland in owned by 350,000 private citizens.

• Mississippians are planting more trees than they harvest with a growth-to-harvest ratio of pine trees of 3-to-1 and a growth-to-harvest ratio of hardwood of 6-to-1.

• Mississippi has several types of forestland including hardwood (45 percent), pine (29 percent), regeneration (17 percent) and mixed (9 percent).

• It would take 15 million football fields to fill the 19.8 million forested acres in Mississippi.

From July 2018 through June 2019, MFC fire crews responded to 619 wildfires that burned 10,323 acres. In addition, MFC issued 3,042 burn permits with 37,754 acres burned as a part of recognized agricultural and/or forestry purposes. Nearly 90 percent of the wildfires reported were the result of debris burning and incendiary (arson) causes during the period. 

Anyone with questions on the services provided by the Mississippi Forestry Commission should visit or call Region 3 Area Forester for Jones County Scott Mellard at 769-257-9998.

Kiwanis Club of Laurel meets most Wednesdays at noon at the Laurel Country Club. Prospective members are encouraged to attend and learn more about the philanthropic activities of Kiwanis.

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