Massachusetts Ranked As One of the Most ‘Forested’ States
Six days after Earth Day is Arbor Day. Wisevoter released their 2023 Most Forested States report to coincide with this time of year, and Massachusetts ranked quite high.
Forests in the United States cover approximately one-third of the country’s landmass. Wiservoter details how they provide “vital habitats for wildlife and essential ecosystem services like capturing and storing carbon, moderating water flows, reducing air pollution, and providing recreational opportunities for Americans to enjoy.”
A healthy forest is also a crucial factor in preserving the health of our air and clean water. Forestry is an essential business. “American forests directly employ over 900,000 people in a variety of jobs such as forest management, timber harvesting, tourism, recreation and more,” Wisevoter continues.
To determine their rankings, Wisevoter surveyed the land of each state to compile what percentage of land is forested. Massachusetts finished 12th with 59.8% forest coverage. To clarify this, coverage is defined as the percentage of forest land area. In addition, the Bay State has 2,984,000 forest land acres. Massachusetts has a .02% percentage of acres burned by wildfire.
Maine is the state that had the most forest coverage, with 88%. North Dakota was 50th, with only 1.8% forest coverage. At this point, you might be wondering how a larger state in mileage would outrank a smaller state like Hawaii. It’s because the measurements are based on the percentage of that state that is under forest coverage, as opposed to the actual square mileage or acres of forest.
What about the rest of New England?
New Hampshire was second with 88.1% forest coverage (and 0% burned acreage). Vermont was 4th at 76.7%. Connecticut ranked 14th with 56.9% coverage, and Rhode Island finished at 17th with 54.5%.
You may come across various areas that are considering the time in between Earth Day and Arbor Day to be “Arbor Week.”
The city of Cambridge is hosting events all week in recognition. You can collect information about trees, volunteer to plant trees, or attend a neighborhood tree walk. With Massachusetts being one of the most forested states in coverage, it’s a great time to get outdoors and participate.