Forests in Butler County
At one time much of Butler County was covered by Beech and Maple forests. As settlers moved into the county land was cleared for building materials, fire wood, and farming operations. Today less than 20% of Butler County remains forested. Though the beech and maple are less common, other species have moved in to fill the voids.
How can you help?
Landowners, both large and small need to realize that trees and forest health play a big role in our lives. Trees do a big part in helping fight climate change. On average, one tree can absorb 10 pounds of polluted air each year and release 260 pounds of nitrogen, trees absorb carbon from the atmosphere and in some instances they have been found to absorb other pollutants such as nitrogen, ammonia, and ozone. Even someone with as small of a property as a half acre can plant trees on their property and contribute to canopy cover. Larger stands of forests need to be managed to promote future stands of trees and further degradation by invasive species.
Annually, Butler SWCD hosts a tree sale beginning in January and ending in March. Trees sold are bare root seedlings sold at cost. Watch this page for a link to place your order online when the sale begins.
Ohio's forests are under assault from many invasive species. Blights, insects, diseases, and plants are constantly battling our native plants. Southwest Ohio has experienced infestations of Emerald Ash Bore, Thousand Cankers Disease, Honeusuckle, and Asian Longhorned Beetle. In 2012 Thousand Cankers Disease was discovered in Butler County, though Butler County has been declared ridden of this problem it is sill a good idea to keep an eye on the health of your trees. For more information on Thousand Cankers Disease check out this OSU fact sheet. Other invasives are on their way too, if you believe your forest is infected with an invasive species please contact Bulter SWCD or OSU Extension for positive identification.
Forestry Pollution Abatement Program
The current Ohio Forestry Pollution Abatement Rules and Standards were enacted in the Ohio Administrative Code in 2016. These updated rules were promulgated as a result of the passage of HB 64 in December 2015, which transferred enforcement authority to the ODNR Division of Forestry from the former ODNR Division of Soil and Water Resources.
The Rules and Standards establish criteria for planning, implementation and maintenance of conservation practices designed to prevent the pollution of waters of the state by silvicultural operations. The rules also define Ohio’s Forestry Pollution Abatement Fund for landowners or operators to voluntarily install Best Management Practices (BMPs).
Soil erosion is a natural process that can never be completely eliminated. However, excessive soil sediment in streams can pose a significant risk of damage to aquatic systems as well as public and private property. Soil sediment that settles in stream beds can choke off the rocks and other voids in the stream bed, eliminating habitat for aquatic insects and fish. Excessive soil sediment in stream systems can also affect public water intakes and shorten the lives of flood control lakes and structures. In extreme cases, mud from logging activity can also obstruct stream flow contributing to localized flooding. These potential liabilities can largely be avoided by developing a Timber Harvest Plan, utilizing proper Best Management Practices, and adhering to the Ohio Forestry Pollution Abatement Rules and Standards.
Landowners, loggers and foresters are strongly encouraged to read and become familiar with the Rules and Standards before engaging in logging or other activities that may expose forest soils to erosion.
(Credit: Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry)
Sediment discharges do NOT have to happen to warrant a pollution complaint. In Ohio if a logger does not follow the BMP's set by the Ohio Division of Forestry a pollution complaint can be filed against the logging company. Residents can pick up a copy of the Ohio forestry BMP book at our office (1802 Princeton Road, Hamitlon) books are free of charge.
To safeguard timber harvests on your property you can choose to file a timber harvest plan and submit it to Butler SWCD to review.
In 2006, the Division of Soil & Water Conservation and local SWCDs formed a coalition with forest resource agencies throughout Ohio to unveil a campaign aimed at increasing landowners awareness of these critical timber harvesting issues. The “Call Before You Cut” program informs landowners of their options when considering a timber harvest. Landowners should first visit the website http://callb4ucut.com/ or call
877-4B4-UCUT to learn more details about the program.
If a forestry pollution complaint is submitted Butler SWCD will make an investigation and work with the Ohio Division of Forestry to take action and prevent further discharge and mitigate the effects. The Division of Forestry reserves the right to enact civil penalties in certain situations.
Before initiating a timber harvest landowners may find it necessary to hire a forestry consultant to assist in the planning process. Learn more about consulting foresters here. If you just want technical advice on how you can manage forests on your own, the Ohio Division of Forestry has many great free resources at your finger tips, one of them being area service forester Patrick Migliozzi. He is stationed in Waynesville at the area office and can be reached at 614-212-3287 or by email
For more information about timber harvests in Ohio and Forestry Pollution visit the ODNR Division of Forestry website.
Some landowners may qualify for cost share under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Bill. To learn more about the farm bill and the programs within it, please visit our Farm Bill Page.