Woodland - Summer 2020 - 31

White Oak
in the
Buckeye State

As Demand Soars, Ohio Tree Farmers Play Pivotal Role
in Regenerating Key Species
BY NICK FORTUNA

botanist or forester could spend a
lifetime in the woods of Ohio and never
get bored. The state has 50 different
types of forests featuring 103 tree species,
according to the most recent USDA Forest
Service report on Ohio's forestland. But around
these parts, one species towers over the rest,
not always physically - although that is the goal
- but certainly in terms of its value to wildlife,
landowners and businesses.
White oak dominates much of Ohio's 8
million acres of forestland, but it has a bounty
on it. Its high-grade timber resists moisture and
rot, making it ideal for boats, outdoor furniture
and barrels used to age bourbon, wine and
even Tabasco sauce. The stuff looks great
indoors, too, as cabinets, tables, chairs, floors
and veneer.
Global demand for white oak is robust and
growing, but the same can't be said for Ohio's
white oak inventory. The USDA report, published
every five years, found that from 2011 to 2016,
Ohio's white oak supply decreased 9% in net
volume, 11% in growing-stock volume, 7% in
saw-timber volume and 14% in the number of
trees measuring 5 inches or greater in diameter.
Ohio's interagency forestry team has identified
a 17-county region in southeastern Ohio as a
priority area for oak management. Right now,

there is enough white oak to support wildlife
species and meet industry demand, but if
current trends hold, its dominance of Ohio's
forestland will be in jeopardy.
"We're actually removing more white oak
than we're regenerating, so we're at a net loss
currently, and we're trying to reverse that trend,"
said Mark Rickey, a service forester with the Ohio
Division of Forestry. "When you have factories
utilizing white oak exclusively, that puts a strain
on that species, and unfortunately, white oak is
one of the tougher ones to regenerate. It has to
have some openings in the canopy, and it has to
be cared for a little bit throughout the life of the
stand to get it to maturity."
For wildlife in Ohio, the stakes are high.
Deer, turkey, squirrels, birds and other animals
feed on nutrient-dense white oak acorns,
especially during the winter, when food is
scarce. In addition, the cerulean warbler, an
endangered migratory songbird, is among the
many bird species relying on white oak trees for
nesting habitat.
"There are 80 to 90 wildlife species that
depend on acorns to survive, including just
about everything that lives here year-round," said
David Apsley, natural resources specialist at Ohio
State University Extension. "Oaks are the base of
the ecosystem here."

Summer 2020 * WOODLAND 31



Woodland - Summer 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Woodland - Summer 2020

Overstory
Forests and Families
Forest Interactions
Forestry Amid a Pandemic
National Treasure: The Return of Longleaf
White Oak in the Buckeye State
Tools and Resources
Amazon Makes Major Investment in Family Forests
Woodland - Summer 2020 - Intro
Woodland - Summer 2020 - cover1
Woodland - Summer 2020 - cover2
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 3
Woodland - Summer 2020 - Overstory
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 5
Woodland - Summer 2020 - Forests and Families
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 7
Woodland - Summer 2020 - Forest Interactions
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 9
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 10
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 11
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 12
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 13
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 14
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 15
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 16
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 17
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 18
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 19
Woodland - Summer 2020 - Forestry Amid a Pandemic
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 21
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 22
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 23
Woodland - Summer 2020 - National Treasure: The Return of Longleaf
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 25
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 26
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 27
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 28
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 29
Woodland - Summer 2020 - White Oak in the Buckeye State
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 31
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 32
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 33
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 34
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 35
Woodland - Summer 2020 - Tools and Resources
Woodland - Summer 2020 - 37
Woodland - Summer 2020 - Amazon Makes Major Investment in Family Forests
Woodland - Summer 2020 - cover3
Woodland - Summer 2020 - cover4
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