CHARLES TOWN — West Virginia is the second leading producer of hardwood in the nation and Jefferson County contributes to that success.
[cleeng_content id="374644083" description="Read it now!" price="0.15"]“Jefferson County is 27 percent forestland,” said West Virginia’s Division of Forestry director Randy Dye, who spoke to a state legislative committee June 26.
Jefferson has averaged six timber harvests per year totaling 90 acres.
The county has two forest stewardship plans totaling 226 acres. “Jefferson has a manufacturer of specialty pallets and hardwood mulch,” said Gregory Cook, deputy state forester.
Jefferson County has 12 managed timberland accounts registered with the state Division of Forestry, totaling 1,012 acres.
Dye said statewide there are 24 billion cubic feet of hardwoods produced in the state, making it the second-largest producer in the nation.
“Hardwoods such as red oak, maples, and yellow poplar are used for the housing market,” Dye said. “We will have plenty of hardwoods in the state when the housing market rebounds.”
Dye said the timber stock in the state is more than three times what it was in 1900. “The state now has about 88 billion board feet of saw timber-sized trees,” he said. “They are 11 inches in diameter or larger and are everywhere in the state.”
In the 1990s, Dye said, there was an underlying fear that wood-processing plants would lead to clear-cutting in the state. “Three or four large corporations put mills in the area. They were high-tech mills that made hardwood veneer,” he said.
“We were using about 20 loads of hardwood in saw mills daily. The new mills came in and were using between 60 to 100 truckloads a day. That was the reason for the fear.”
Dye said currently the forest in West Virginia could easily handle the increased harvest of hardwoods.
Producing pellets for burning is an additional market for landowners. “As long as the pellet industry consumes at a reasonable rate, we will be OK,” Dye said, adding he think the pellet industry as hurting West Virginia.[/cleeng_content]