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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

Drive efficiently.At 45mph and above, save gas by rolling your windows up