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Tennessee’s State Nursery

From west to east, trees can be found across Tennessee. Providing wood for our homes, habitat for wildlife, and helping clean the air and water, these amazing plants play a crucial role in our ecosystem and are a benefit to us all. Which is why something as simple as planting a tree is a guaranteed way to improve the environment and make Tennessee a prettier and more productive state. But before you can plant a tree, somebody has to grow it first…which is exactly what our hard working state foresters do every year.

The Tennessee Division of Forestry is celebrating a century of forest conservation, protection and enhancement. Tennessee’s first state forester began work September 1, 1914 with a focus on wildfire control and reforestation of ‘waste’ land. Today, the focus is still on wildfire control, but also on promoting forestland values and benefits, forest health and forest productivity. The Division of Forestry’s humble beginnings were in the statute for the State Geologic Survey to conduct “An investigation of forests, streams and water powers of the state, with special reference to their conservation and development for industrial purposes.” To carry out the purposes of these two provisions, the Geological Commission established a Forestry Division on the Survey on February 17, 1914. Mr. R.S. Maddox of Lincoln County, Tennessee, a graduate of the Yale School of Forestry, and recently employed by the U.S. Forest Service, was put in charge and began work in September of that year, with instructions to devote a large part of his time toward aiding in the reclamation of the gullied lands of West Tennessee. He would also make studies of the general forest conditions the state. At that time, Tennessee was the second state in the South to create a Division of Forestry.

Today, Tennessee’s forests cover 14 million acres…that’s 52% of the state. Thanks to the hard work of our foresters and others, Tennessee’s forests are prized for their beauty, wildlife habitat, timber production, recreation, air and water quality, energy conservation, carbon sequestration, enhanced property values, storm water control, and natural heritage. These benefits, however, face significant threats in the form of wildfire, insect and disease, lack of proper management and urban expansion. So, there is much work to be done.

From show 2712