Six days after Earth Day is Arbor Day. Wisevoter released their 2023 Most Forested States report to coincide with this time of year, and Florida ranked right in the middle.
Forests in the United States cover approximately one-third of the country’s landmass. Wiservoter details how they provide “vital habitats for wildlife and essential ecosystem services like capturing and storing carbon, moderating water flows, reducing air pollution, and providing recreational opportunities for Americans to enjoy.”
A healthy forest is also a crucial factor in preserving the health of our air and clean water. Therefore, Forestry is an essential business. “American forests directly employ over 900,000 people in various jobs such as forest management, timber harvesting, tourism, recreation, and more,” Wisevoter continues.
To determine their rankings, Wisevoter surveyed the land of each state to compile what percentage of land is forested. Massachusetts finished 21st with 49.3% forest coverage. Coverage is defined as the percentage of forest land area. In addition, the sunshine state has 16,970,000 forest land acres. Florida has a .27% percentage of acres burned by wildfire. Finally, Florida is the home of 37 state forests.
Maine is the state that had the most forest coverage, with 88%. North Dakota was 50th, with only 1.8% forest coverage. At this point, you might wonder how a larger state in mileage would outrank a smaller state like Hawaii. It’s because the measurements are based on that state’s percentage under forest coverage, as opposed to the actual square mileage or acres of forest.
What about the rest of the southern region?
They all ranked relatively high. In fact, Florida was the lowest on the forest coverage list for all the southeastern states.
Alabama was fifth with 71.3% forest coverage. South Carolina and Georgia were sixth and seventh, with 66.8% and 66.5%, respectively. Mississippi was eighth at 63.9% forest coverage.
You may come across various areas considering the time between Earth Day and Arbor Day to be “Arbor Week.” In recognition, the University of Florida partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to provide free trees to residents. Hillsborough County in the Tampa area states that Arbor Day is the best time to plant native trees. With Florida being in the top half of most forested states in coverage, it’s a great time to get outdoors and participate.