Taking inventory can be a daunting task for anyone, but imagine what State Forester Linda Casey must have been thinking when she launched a study of her industry — one including more than 22 million acres of trees.
It took a year-and-a-half to catalog, categorize and confirm what she already felt existed, but the magnitude of the undertaking still has her shaking her head in wonderment.
"Most people don’t think of all the things associated with forests and what they provide," she said. "They don’t consider the paper they write on, the chair they sit in or jobs they provide."
The result of her departmental inventory is "Forests at the Crossroad," a 173-page report representing Alabama’s forest assessment and resource strategy.
Alabama wasn’t alone in conducting the study. The 2008 Farm Bill required state foresters to develop and submit an assessment of forest conditions to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
Casey saw it as an opportunity to come up with a strategic plan for the future, one to enhance forest resources for future generations.