Mississippi Society of American Foresters

MS SAF Position Statement on Herbicide Use in Forest Management

Position:

The Mississippi Society of American Foresters advocates the proper use of herbicides in forest management. Managing vegetation types and quality is a basic activity in forest management. Herbicide use is one of several available vegetation management alternatives. Herbicides registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and regulated by the Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) are an environmentally safe option for managing undesired vegetation when applied according to label directions.

Background:

Much of the commercial forestland in Mississippi is growing quality timber at less than maximum rates. Timber production is an important economic activity in Mississippi. Research and operational experience have shown it is possible to significantly increase the growth of desired tree species by managing non-crop vegetation that competes with the crop trees for light, water, and nutrients. Vegetation management with herbicides is also useful for achieving non-timber objectives such as enhancement of wildlife habitat, management of watersheds, forage production for livestock, control of harmful weeds, and maintenance of rights of way and recreational sites.

Foresters must select herbicides that are registered for the intended use, that achieve desired results, and will have minimal undesired effects on the environment. Foresters must also comply with all provisions of herbicide labels and follow all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Treatment recommendations should be made that will best achieve the desired outcome, enhance application accuracy and minimize off-site herbicide movement.

Foresters, as responsible professionals, have an obligation to protect the health and safety of the public, forest workers, and the environment. When using herbicides they should:

  • seek advice and guidance from qualified experts;
  • acquire a thorough knowledge of the chemical and biological properties and effects of herbicides used in forest management;
  • select vegetation management practices only after careful analyses of effectiveness, economics, and environmental effects;
  • be prescribed on a site-specific basis;
  • ensure responsible application by trained and as appropriate, licensed applicators;
  • maintain records of herbicide use and conditions that might affect herbicide movement and effectiveness.

Originally adopted by the Mississippi Society of American Foresters (MS SAF) on October 18, 2000 and revised on August 24, 2007. This statement will expire December 31, 2017, unless revised by the MS SAF.