Malatya Haber Like the Lorax, Nebraska Forest Service speaks for the trees
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Like the Lorax, Nebraska Forest Service speaks for the trees


The recent movie release of "The Lorax" is bringing Dr. Seuss' beloved classic to a new generation and shining light on the importance of trees and forests.

But what viewers may not realize is that there are real-life Loraxes right here in Nebraska.

"The Lorax is a creature who speaks for the trees and offers a message of hope and renewal, restoration and responsibility," said Scott Josiah, Nebraska Forest Service state forester and director. "In Nebraska our trees and forests definitely matter. We at NFS speak for Nebraska's trees."

Nebraska has more than 2.7 million acres of trees and forests, ranging from what people consider "traditional" forests, such as the ponderosa pine forests of the Pine Ridge and the hardwood forests of the Missouri River Bluffs, to community forests, wooded pastures and conservation plantings, such as windbreaks. Both collectively and as individual units, these trees and forests play an important role in the lives of all Nebraskans.

"We have approximately 30,000 miles of windbreaks in Nebraska, protecting 59,000 farmsteads and nearly 1 million acres of farmland," Josiah said. "These windbreaks save energy, reduce soil erosion, protect livestock and increase crop yields--benefits that are worth approximately $91 million per year."

Trees are a vital part of Nebraska's communities as well. There are more than 13 million trees in cities and towns across our state. These trees clean the air, reduce energy costs, extend the life of roads, filter storm water runoff and give communities a sense of place. Structurally, these trees have a value of almost $10 billion. However, since the 1970s, Nebraska has lost nearly half its community forest.

"'The Lorax' reminds all of us that humans and nature are inextricably intertwined, and that trees are essential for strong communities," Josiah said. "Trees are a renewable resource that can keep on giving when managed sustainably."

The Nebraska Forest Service, part of the university's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, has staff in Lincoln and 11 Nebraska communities and is tasked with protecting, restoring and utilizing Nebraska's tree and forest resources. NFS foresters work with communities, green industry professionals, natural resource professionals and rural landowners to protect, enhance and utilize Nebraska's tree and forest resources.

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