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Forests & Trees

There are over 45 parks in Howard County in which to enjoy the abun­dant wood­land our area has to offer. Con­ser­va­tion helps ensure the pro­tec­tion of the trees and forests and there are many rea­sons to con­serve and man­age this pre­cious resource. They include but are surely not lim­ited to:

Oxy­gen Pro­duc­tion: Forests are a major source of oxy­gen pro­duc­tion, which makes us all breathe much easier.

Ripar­ian For­est Buffers: Forests along streams and rivers reduce the amount of sed­i­ment and excess nutri­ent runoff by trap­ping and absorb­ing these pol­lu­tants as they move through the landscape.

Flood Con­trol: Forests can soak up nearly eight inches of rain per hour help­ing to reduce runoff and there­fore less­en­ing the fre­quency and sever­ity of flood­ing and its effects.

Ground­wa­ter Recharge: Through the absorp­tion of rain­fall, the forests help recharge ground­wa­ter by slowly releas­ing it into streams and under­ground aquifers.

Wildlife Habi­tat: There are hun­dreds of ani­mals that make the for­est their home, includ­ing mam­mals, amphib­ians, rep­tiles, fish, insects and birds. Not only do they rely on this ecosys­tem for shel­ter but also for food, water and nest­ing areas.

Wood Resources: Of course all of us come in con­tact with some type of wood prod­uct every­day. With­out man­ag­ing our forests we could endan­ger our abil­ity to uti­lize this resource for homes, fur­ni­ture, the daily news­pa­per, craft projects or even that cozy crack­ling fire in winter.

Scenic Beauty: Often over­looked is the aes­thetic value of our forests. You most likely have enjoyed the scent of the spring for­est with its beau­ti­ful flow­ers or cer­tainly mar­veled at the bril­liant col­ors of the leaves in autumn.

Recre­ational Oppor­tu­ni­ties: There are many recre­ational oppor­tu­ni­ties in the for­est such as hik­ing, camp­ing, hunt­ing, bird watch­ing and pho­tog­ra­phy, just to name a few.

Gen­er­a­tions to Come: Lastly, let us not for­get that our gen­er­a­tion is only here for a short time. It is imper­a­tive that we man­age these lands to ensure their long-term via­bil­ity for future generations.

For­est Conservation

Howard County’s For­est Con­ser­va­tion Pro­gram was imple­mented in 1993. To date, thou­sands of acres across Howard County have been pro­tected in per­pe­tu­ity through the cre­ation of hun­dreds of for­est con­ser­va­tion ease­ments. Although some of these are located on pub­lic land, many are located on com­monly owned com­mu­nity open space, and may also be located on pri­vate prop­erty. The Howard County Depart­ment of Plan­ning and Zoning’s For­est Con­ser­va­tion infor­ma­tion can be found on their Envi­ron­men­tal Plan­ning web­page. You can learn more about how to care for forested areas near your home and more by view­ing the Edu­ca­tional Guides to For­est Con­ser­va­tion Easements.

Recre­ation and Parks

Howard County’s Recre­ation and Parks Depart­ment mon­i­tors, pro­tects, and enhances County-owned parks, forests and his­toric resources. Their Nat­ural Resources web­page explains their pro­grams includ­ing For­est Con­ser­va­tion inspec­tions and enforce­ment. Their Forestry web­page has more infor­ma­tion includ­ing the Stream Re-Leaf program.

EMERAL ASH BORER WARNING

Help us pro­tect our ash trees from this exotic inva­sive insect by not trans­port­ing wood into or out of the County. More infor­ma­tion can be found HERE.

Green Tip

Hi, I’m Howard and I’m here to provide you with green tips. Look for me throughout the site and check out my cool interactive games at the Kids Zone.