The speed of deforestation in Michigan

Asked November 21, 2019, 7:45 AM EST

Dear professor at Michigan State University,
I am Chengxi Yang, a student from Troy High, Troy, Michigan.
I’m currently working about a project about deforestation.
I want to consult with you that the speed or possibility of deforestation in Michigan and is it sustainable?
Would you mind help me ?

Oakland County Michigan

1 Response

Hi Chengxi,
Thank you for your question. As I read your question, I want to be sure that we both have the same meaning for 'deforestation.' In the forestry world, deforestation means land that was once forest, and will no longer be forest because the primary way the land is going to be used has changed. For example, if a woodlot in a community is cut down and a strip mall is built, that is deforestation.
What is not deforestation are timber harvests that require all of the trees to be removed so that the next generation of trees can grow in full sun (which some tree species require). That is a forest management decision to fully prepare the site to grow the next generation of trees and should not be considered 'deforestation' because the land will continue to grow trees.
You asked about the rate of deforestation, or land conversion. The one place I do know to gather that data is the US Forest Service's Forest Inventory and Analysis website.
If you click on Michigan, you can see the forest statistics for our state. Look at "other removals" which is referenced on the other side of the page to say "net growth and removals include land use change." That means land converting from forest to other uses as well as people planting trees in fields to create additional forest lands (which does happen; the NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) helps people with the cost of planting trees to create more forest lands).
I hope this helps with your project. If you have additional questions, please feel free to reply back to me via this thread or using the information below.
Thank you,