New Online Directory Targets Eastern Red Cedar Owners and Processors

Oklahoma City—A new directory for eastern red cedar, one of the most challenging plant species in Oklahoma, was announced this week.

The eastern red cedar is a native tree of Oklahoma, but the tree that was once limited to the rocky bluffs, deep canyons and other fire free areas has now grown out of control. Prior to settlement, eastern red cedar was suppressed by fire but due to population expansion and poor land management practices the cedar thrives across the plains. The trees inhibit the natural habitat of wildlife in the area, take profitable acres out of production and cause an extreme fire hazard.

In order to address the growing concern, The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry’s Forestry Services division has created an online eastern red cedar market directory. The directory allows landowners and cedar producers to link up with harvesters and cutters so that a solution to the over population of the tree can be found.

“Designed around the same premise as the state’s hay directories, the new site will give landowners an opportunity to let it be known they have cedars to remove”, said State Secretary of Agriculture, Terry Peach.

“This is just a small part of the overall solution to deal with the red cedar issue and we hope it sparks renewed interest in manufacturing and processing products using this resource,” Peach said. “Cedar oil, mulch, and lumber are some of the products that have been processed and we would like to see more ventures such as these.”

The directory was announced at a meeting sponsored by the Aromatic Cedar Association held in Stillwater this week. Two more meetings will be held in Weatherford on January 26 and Woodward on February 2.

Buyers and sellers are encouraged to log on to the ODAFF forestry website at www.oda.state.ok.us to sign up. The directory currently allows for producers and harvesters to enter their information and the combined directory is scheduled to be available February 19, 2010.

Representative Richard Morrissette, District 92, said he will work to pass new legislation during the coming session aimed at dealing with eastern red cedar.

“It is my hope that between now and the time legislation is enacted, existing efforts such as this website continue to grow and strengthen,” he said. “All programs that are proving successful could be, in my opinion, included as a part of Oklahoma's Eastern Red Cedar Initiative.”