Latest Forest Inventory for Kentucky

Forest area remains same, growth rate still greater than removal rate.

” Recent inventory data shows red maple as the most common tree species in Kentucky forests. Photo by USDA Forest Service, Region 8, courtesy of

According to the update recently released by the Southern Research Station (SRS) Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program, forest land in Kentucky covers an estimated 12.4 million acres, remaining the same from he last reported data.

The report—compiled from data collected by the Kentucky Division of Forestrys FIA program—also includes information about forest composition, common trees, forest land ownership, standing-tree wood volume and average growth and removals.

“Kentucky’s forest resources have shown very little fluctuation since the previous annual inventory,” said Leah MacSwords, director for the Kentucky Division of Forestry. “In fact, Kentucky’s landscape has remained on average about 45 percent forested for the past 50 years.”

One of the most important indicators listed in the report is growth to removal. The report notes that Kentucky’s forests are producing two times more wood volume than is being removed. While wood-using industries have been affected by the slowing economy, Kentucky’s forests continue to “stand ready” for economic development opportunities in rural areas of the state.

“Although Kentucky’s forests are still growing more wood volume than is being lost to harvest, tree mortality, and other removals, it is crucial that sustainable forestry practices be utilized in order to maintain or improve growth rates,” said MacSwords. 

Additional findings in the report include the following:

  • 11 million acres (or 88 percent) of Kentucky’s forest land is privately owned;
  • the most common tree species is red maple, followed by sugar maple and yellow poplar;
  • the oak-hickory forest-type represents three-fourths of all forests across the Commonwealth; and
  • 93 percent of the standing volume in Kentucky is represented by hardwoods.

For more information, please contact the Kentucky Division of Forestry at 502-564-4496. 

Text from news release by the Kentucky Division of Forestry.

Access the full report at the SRS website.

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