Forests are on the front page recently for all the wrong reasons. …But, I’m here to offer a more positive story about the future of forests and how they can help improve our lives in Florida. …Rural economic development continues to be a focus here in Florida. As we search for ways to jumpstart our local economies, we should look no further than the forests that surround us, which comprise 50 percent of the state’s land area. …Research clearly shows that in the South, utilizing more wood generates more investments and more forests… Wood fiber is certainly not just for furniture and toilet paper anymore. Wood fiber can already be found in 5,000 everyday products from lumber to your cell phone screen. Soon we will see more tall wood buildings, wood fibers making products stronger, and planes and cars fueled by wood-based biofuel.