Forestry grows food, creates hundreds of products and materials, supports the environment, and builds careers. Nearly 40% of Maryland is forested. As the single largest land use in the state, forests are vital to the health of the Chesapeake Bay and offer numerous environmental and economic benefits.
To promote and support this important industry, the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC), a Division of the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland, and Grow & Fortify teamed up to develop a new resource guide and companion video ‘An Introduction to Southern Maryland’s Forestry Industry’ to highlight how responsible forest management benefits our state’s ecology and economy. The guide also encourages consumers to identify and seek out products made from locally sourced wood and explores forestry career opportunities.
Many climate experts believe that a responsibly managed forest offers one of the best and least expensive ways to mitigate climate change by sequestering carbon and using carbon-neutral renewable energy. “Forests also provide a viable timber market, incentivizing landowners to retain and care for their trees ensuring the overall health of their forests and habitat for wildlife,” said Kelly Dudeck, Chief Strategy Officer at Grow & Fortify.
In 2017, the statewide forestry industry directly contributed about $4.2 billion and supported 18,046 jobs in the Maryland economy. In Southern Maryland, forestry businesses contribute over $585 million to the state economy, supporting more than 3,000 jobs. “Forests provide much-needed employment and economic sustainability for our rural communities,” commented Shelby Watson-Hampton, SMADC Director. “And here in Southern Maryland, we are very fortunate to have the Dr. James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center, which offers students a wide variety of career-specific programs in natural resources, including forestry.”
The new guide is available now as a digital educational resource for residents, entrepreneurs, and commercial interests. A brief video announcing the launch of the guide will be previewed for attendees at the 2021 Rural Maryland Council Summit in Annapolis on December 2, to be followed by the premiere launch of the full Forestry Industry Video on Friday, December 3, 2021. To view the forestry guide, forestry industry video and learn more about the important role forestry plays in Maryland, visit growandfortify.com or SMADC.com.