Forest Facts for Shelby County

Shelby County Forests

  • The Piney Woods region of East Texas has 43 counties covering over 22 million acres of land of which 11.6 million acres is forest land.
  • Shelby County is ranked 9th in the state based on forest ownership.
  • 357,700 acres in the county are forested
    • 31% classified as Pine
    • 21% classified as Pine/Hardwood
    • 48% classified as Hardwood
  • 148,303 acres in the county are non-forested, e.g. pasture and cropland
  • Land ownership breakdown in Shelby County:
    • Non-industrial private land owners: 238,200 acres or 67%
    • Industry: 61,300 acres or 17%
    • Public (Sabine National Forest): 58,200 acres or 16%
  • Texas Forest Service Office:
    • Shelby County office opened in 1973 - now closed and relocated to San Augustine
    • Organized in 1915 at Texas A & M University.
    • Responsible for landowner assistance in forest management, education, insect and disease control, wildfire protection and prevention, urban forestry, VFD training, federal and private cost-share programs, and reforestation efforts for the county.
  • The Natural Resource Conservation Service and Farmer Service Agency are USDA offices designed to provide valuable information and assistance to landowners, e.g., federal cost-shares for reforestation, soil testing, farm evaluations and management plans.
  • In the early 1900's over 3000 people were employed by the timber industries
  • 1900's saw the last virgin forests in the county harvested
  • 1940's only 840 were employed in timber industry
  • Reforestation efforts began in the 1940's and continue today. According to the USDA Forest Service 1992 Forest Survey; Shelby County is harvesting more cubic feet of timber than is grown annually. However through a mass media campaign the Texas Forest Service and other agencies and associations hope to change that trend by the next survey in 2000.
  • Shelby County along with Sabine and San Augustine counties has one of Texas' first Landowner Associations devoted to the education of landowners and the promotion of management of this natural resource. The Tri-County Timber Growers Association was formed in 1986. For more information contact the Texas Forest Service at (936)275-3473 or http://txforestservice.tamu.edu/.
  • Shelby County has numerous professional foresters in the forest consulting business. They are in business to serve landowners in all aspects of land management. To obtain a list contact the Texas Forest Service office.
  • Timber buyers and loggers constitute over 40% of the forest related jobs in Shelby County while the forest productions, e.g., saw mills, chip mills, employ over 57% of the forest industry jobs. Total Employees represented as of 1994 are 1156.