Did you know:
South Carolina has 12.0 million acres of forestland – 67% of the state’s total land area?
Forestry is number two among manufacturing industries in jobs (84,000) and labor income?
Total economic impact on South Carolina’s Forest industry is around $21 billion annually?
South Carolina exports $1.3 billion in forest products each year and 87% of South Carolina’s forests are privately owned, 63% of private forests are family-owned?
The average “family forest” is 80 acres with 56% of the owners living on the land?
Wood is a renewable and environmentally friendly product. We wear it, eat it, write on it, sit on it, build with it, many times without knowing it. Over 5,000 products are made every day from trees. Unlike other fossil fuels, metals and other natural resources, trees can be planted and regrown in an endless cycle so we can enjoy the benefits they provide, – clean air, clean water, recreation, wildlife habitat and products.
What products you say? Tree bark from the willow is used as an essential element in aspirin, while the laurel tree provides cinnamon used to flavor many foods. We use cork oak for fishing tackle. Bark is also used as a dye for fabrics and shoe polish.
Tree trunks are primarily used for furniture, musical instruments, and sporting equipment. But they can also be peeled into thin sheets to make veneers for plywood. Pine stumps are used to make cleaning products, laundry detergents and orange flavored soft drinks. Hardwood stumps produce sprouts that grow into new trees, so the cycle continues.
Other products made from stumps: sports drinks. Gums which come from sap from trees are used to manufacture a variety of products including food, adhesives, paint, and medicine. Gums are used as a thickening agent; they can provide a creamy texture and act as a binder to keep ingredients from separating and help retain moisture. In ice cream and other frozen desserts, gum prevents formation of crystals. Gum of some trees are used to make adhesives in glue and hairspray and can act as a drying agent in paint and printing ink.
While leaves help produce oxygen, they also filter pollutants from the air, help keep us cool and provide shelter for many wildlife species. When they are harvested leaves from some trees, such as bay are used in cooking, while oils from other leaves such as eucalyptus are used for fragrance and flavoring. Carnauba leaves are used to produce furniture polish, car wax, crayons, lipstick, and coatings on many medicine tablets.
Our favorite fruits and nuts come from trees and are an important source of food for wildlife and people. Some of the most common are apples, peaches, pecans, coffee, spices such as nutmeg and clove.
So while your enjoying that sports drink while hiking or taking that Sunday drive through our vast supply of parks, remember to clean up, recycle, take care of the environment because it takes care of you!
Credits: South Carolina Forestry Association
Crista Lukoski is the district coordinator for the Newberry Soil and Water Conservation District, she can be reached at 803.597.3160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.