Oklahoma Forestry Services Speaks for the Trees

            In celebration of the many benefits provided by Oklahoma’s forests, Oklahoma Forestry Services, a Division of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, has teamed up with the USDA Forest Service and Dr. Seuss’s character The Lorax to “speak for the trees.”

            Dr. Seuss wrote about the importance of environmental awareness in 1971. The Lorax is a parable that promotes the conservation of natural resources and warns against the perils of over-consumption. The story depicts a greedy, polluting industry (the Once-ler) cutting down all of the feather-like Truffula trees without replacing them for the future. Through new plantings and the presentation of the last Truffula seed, trees are promoted as a renewable resource, valuable to people for everything from clean air to wood products. The takeaway message is that sustainable forest management practices help strike a balance between the needs of people and the health of our forests.

           “Even if you don’t live in one, the forests matter to everyone,” said George Geissler, Oklahoma State Forester. “Given the many threats to America’s private and public forests due to climate change, urban sprawl, pests and wildfires, we anticipate the movie will build awareness and help ensure the health and productivity of America’s forests, a goal shared by forest owners, foresters and the Lorax.”

            There are over 751 million acres of forestland in America and, on average, about four million trees are planted each day. In Oklahoma over 95 percent of our 10 million acres of forestlands are privately owned and landowners plant millions of trees each year.

            “Foresters are similar to wheat farmers. They fertilize the land, work it, plant the seedlings, baby the crops and then harvest it; it’s just a longer process,” Geissler said. “Teaching people that harvesting trees and using wood products are acceptable if done responsibly will go a long way toward changing attitudes.”

             So hold onto your Truffula tufts. Dr. Seuss’s beloved book The Lorax springs into 3-D on March 2, the day when the author would have turned 108 years old. The film will promote the inherent value of our forests and the importance of planting trees and sustainable forest management.

For the latest forestry information, visit www.forestry.ok.gov.