Mississippi Society of American Foresters

MS SAF Position Statement on Mississippi Institute for Forest Inventory

Position:

The Mississippi Society of American Foresters recognizes the importance of forest-based economic development and its inherent benefits to all Mississippians. A strong foundation providing current and accurate forest resource information is necessary to capitalize on the economic potential of the forest resources for both consumptive and non-consumptive uses. The Mississippi Institute for Forest Inventory (MIFI) has proven to be the best solution for providing the requisite information at a resolution desirable for use by planners, developers, and investors, and therefore must be adequately funded.

Background:

As populations and their associated demands on our forest resources increase, it becomes crucial to have knowledge of the volume and condition of our forest resources and an understanding of how the increased demand is going to impact future sustainability. The U.S. Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis Unit (FIA) provides useful data at the state level. However, the growth and survival of Mississippi's traditional forest products industry and the advent of ecosystem-service, bio-energy, carbon markets and other economic development opportunites mandate the need to possess accurate inventory information at finer resolutions.

MIFI has worked diligently to reaffirm and strengthen Mississippi's relationship with the U.S. Forest Service FIA, and by dovetailing the two systems, has established the foremost comprehensive forest inventory capability anywhere. This integration of the two inventory schemes provides Mississippi with the information required to address issues at scales ranging from individual county landscapes to statewide assessments.

In recent years, Mississippi has experienced oscillating markets for standing timber products. However, many academic studies project sustained or increasing demand for Mississippi's timber products in the future resulting in the opportunity to attract new producers. In addition, advancements in forest products and manufacturing technology are developing capacity for markets that will utilize smaller trees in innovative ways to make better forest products for the future. New facilities will be built to manufacture these products and Mississippi should be positioned to capitalize on these developments. As the demand for forest resources increase both domestically and globally, the demand for forest-based products will continue to apply pressure to the State's vital forest resources. To maintain an equilibrium between demands for all forest related resources and sustainable supply, MIFI must continue to assess our forest resources and the demand being placed upon them.

Originally adopted by Mississippi Society of American Foresters (MS SAF) on July 24, 2003 and revised on November 19, 2008 and December 4, 2012. This statement will expire December 31, 2017, unless revised by the MS SAF.