During the summer of 2005, a Forestry Summit was held in Springfield to examine the vast array of forestry issues across the state. One of the most significant results of the summit was the creation of the Illinois Forestry Association.
The Illinois Forestry Association is a grass-roots organization with a diverse membership of concerned citizens, forest landowners, farmers, small acreage owners, forestry and natural resources professionals, arborists, community foresters, professors, administrators, urban professionals, wood-using business owners, and retirees with grandchildren. Many of us fit several of these categories. Our membership also includes conservation organizations, universities, state and federal agencies. We are hundreds of Illinois residents that have formed the IFA to educate, to act, and to promote because we are concerned about the future of forestry in our state. What we share is a belief that forestry is good for our state and country and that healthy forests must survive for future generations.
Our Mission: To inspire and empower landowners to create healthy, beautiful, and productive forests.
Our Vision: To become the most trusted advocate and comprehensive resource for Illinois forest owners.
- Illinois forests because they provide wildlife habitat, protect soil and water, improve air quality, present recreational opportunities, produce timber, and offer aesthetic value. Forests are home to 61% of the State's native flora and 75% of the State's wildlife habitat. Forestry and forest products add $23 billion to the State economy per a 2012 study. Historically, forests covered 40% of Illinois. Today, they cover 15%. Unfortunately, much of the State's remaining forested land is declining in overall health due to lack of management and other factors.
- Our member and potential members because private forest owners are the primary stewards of the State's forested land. Currently, about 80% of the State's forested land is privately owned. Of those owning more than 10 acres, only 13% have a written Forest Management Plan.
- Research and Education because scientific understanding of how best to manage forests evolves over time, as does the climate and other conditions. Promoting, demonstrating, and explaining various aspects of forest management to private forest owners is a never-ending service as ownership of forested land changes over time.
- Partnerships because IFA can more efficiently and effectively perform its mission by collaborating with other organizations and agencies. Individually and as an organization, we will earn and maintain the respect of others by operating with respect, integrity, and inclusivity.