In Mississippi, local school districts have jurisdiction over Public Trust Land, commonly known as 16th Section Land. The school districts manage these lands and use funds generated from the land for any educational purpose authorized by state law.
The Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC) is charged with the management of forested 16th Section School Trust Land, and associated lieu lands, in 67 counties across the state.
“The MFC manages approximately 480,000 acres of 16th Section Land,” said Russell Bozeman, MFC State Forester. “Timber sale revenue from these forested acres directly benefits students attending nearby schools.”
Funds from timber sales are reinvested into the school districts where they are earned at the discretion of the local school board and in accordance with state law.
Last fiscal year, the combined revenue from timber sales on 16th Section and other public lands totaled approximately $10.3 million.
In addition to timber production, management considerations include wildlife conservation, soil and water quality and aesthetics.
“The MFC ensures that 16th Section Land is sustainably managed and that best management practices are employed throughout the management process,” Bozeman said.
Mississippi’s forested 16th Section Lands are certified by the American Tree Farm System (ATFS), the first large scale certification of non-federal public forestland in the nation. ATFS certification ensures that 16th Section Lands are sustainably managed for future generations.