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Redcedar trees continue to spread across landscape

October 25, 2012

By OSU Extension Services

Of the nearly 44 million acres that make up Oklahoma, more than 12.6 million are forested.

These forested areas are beneficial to the state. Unfortunately, the extremely invasive eastern redcedars are spreading like wildfire into areas where they have no business, like rangelands and pastures. It was estimated in 1950 that redcedars and other junipers covered approximately 1.5 million acres of the state. By 1983, 3.5 million acres were taken.

“The Governor’s Task Force, in 2002, suggested that some 8 million acres of junipers existed in the state,” said Craig McKinley, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension forestry specialist. “That same task force estimated that Oklahoma is losing almost 300,000 acres per year to juniper encroachment.”

With an estimated 462 million - and growing - eastern redcedar trees in the state, ideas for using this native species as a product have been tossed around.

“With the existing economic conditions and with recognition of the problems that result from redcedar encroachment, a number of individuals and organizations are exploring the
possibility of utilizing redcedar for bioenergy purposes,” McKinley said.

To discuss and shed some light on many of these options, the Aromatic Cedar Association is having its annual convention in Fairview Oct. 27.

“Redcedar products include cedar oil, solid wood and energy,” said McKinley, who will be one of six presenters at the meeting. “The good news is these products can all be produced from a single tree.”

Also, legislative issues, using cedar for energy, cedar oil production and bidding on government projects will be presented. The recentlegislation (HB2686), which created the Eastern Redcedar Registry Board to connect redcedar owners and business operators, will be discussed by State Rep. Richard Morrissette.

The meeting will take place at the Civic Center, 206 E. Broadway, in Fairview. To register, or for additional information, McKinley can be contacted by email at craig.mckinley@okstate.edu, or by phone at 405-744-8065.

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