April 29, 2024

    May the forest be with you, always – celebrating Stewardship Week

    COLLEGE STATION, Texas — It doesn’t matter where you are, the forest is with you. May the Forest Be with You, Always is this year’s Texas Soil and Water Stewardship Week theme and Texas A&M Forest Service encourages all to appreciate the trees, and their abundant benefits, around them.

    You don’t have to stand in the middle of the woods to be surrounded by the forest. The home you live in, the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the books you read – they all come from trees growing in Texas.

    Beyond that, forests provide shelter for animals like birds and deer, they give people a nice place to relax and play and they even help clean the water we drink and the air we breathe.

    “Forests provide countless benefits for individuals, communities and the state of Texas,” said Hughes Simpson, Texas A&M Forest Service Forest Resource Development Chief Operating Officer. “When we take steps to steward our forests, they provide an even larger impact.”

    As our world faces environmental challenges, it is important to recognize the solutions that trees can provide. With 59 million acres of forests covering Texas, our forests can make a big impact on our state with the help of our stewardship.

    Forest stewardship = increased timber products and economic impacts

    Timber from managed forests in Texas creates wood for houses, paper goods and products, clothes and so much more. Forest products also offer renewable and sustainable alternatives to plastic, steel, concrete and fossil fuels.

    When landowners steward their land through harvesting, replanting trees, managing vegetation and more, forests can produce up to 53 more tons of wood per acre during their lifetime compared to non-managed forests. This additional wood provides greater financial returns to the landowner, more local jobs and increased economic impact.

    The total forestry sector impact to the Texas economy is $41.6 billion and the timber produced on managed forestland directly contributes over $554 million to it.

    Forest stewardship = increased biodiversity

    Forests that are stewarded well provide critical habitat for wildlife species and promote biologically diverse habitats that support plants, animals and recreational activities. 

    Good forest management activities, such as leaving Streamside Management Zones (SMZs), planting native mast-producing species, windbreaks and installing supplemental food plots can all help enhance wildlife diversity.

    Forest stewardship = clean air

    By removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in their wood, forests and trees keep our air clean, decreasing the risk of respiratory illness.

    “Without forests, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air would increase to levels where human health would suffer,” said Simpson. “Forests that are managed properly reduce the risk of air quality declines and protect Texas lands for future generations.”

    Texas forests store over 3.7 billion tons of carbon, the equivalent of 2.9 billion gasoline-powered passenger vehicles driven for one year.

    Forest stewardship = clean drinking water

    In Texas, 17 million people get their clean surface drinking water from forests – 97.8 trillion gallons of clean drinking water.

    Forests clean rainwater runoff by filtering out oils, chemicals, pollutants and other elements that contaminate surface water. Water filtration by Texas forests is valued at $4.2 billion.

    They also reduce flooding and protect waterways from erosion and extreme temperature changes.

    Forest stewardship = soil health

    Forests help create new soil, prevent erosion and improve soil fertility. They create new soil by helping break down rock material and decomposing organic matter.

    Strong tree roots keep soil in place, preventing erosion. Soil erosion rates from well-managed forests are even less than the geological norm.

    Forests also help improve soil fertility by attracting microorganisms that provide additional organic matter and nutrients to the soil.

    It doesn’t matter where you are, the forest is with you. So, celebrate trees this Stewardship Week by connecting with the products around you, the nature near you, the air you breathe, the water you drink and the soil that is the foundation for everything we do.

    To learn more about Texas Forest Stewardship and the many benefits trees provide, visit:


    Texas A&M Forest Service Contacts:
    Communications Office, 979-458-6606,
    Hughes Simpson, Forest Resource Development Chief Operating Officer, 979-458-6658,