Forested Landscapes in Perspective

Prospects and Opportunities for Sustainable Management of America's Nonfederal Forests

Committee on Prospects and Opportunities for Sustainable Management of America's Nonfederal Forests

Board on Agriculture

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1998



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--> Forested Landscapes in Perspective Prospects and Opportunities for Sustainable Management of America's Nonfederal Forests Committee on Prospects and Opportunities for Sustainable Management of America's Nonfederal Forests Board on Agriculture National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1998

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--> NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. In preparing its report, the committee invited people with different perspectives to present their views. Such invitation does not imply endorsement of those views. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. This study was supported by the Forest Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, under Agreement No 53-3187-5-11. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Forested landscapes in perspective : prospects and opportunities for sustainable management of America's nonfederal forests / Committee on Prospects and Opportunities for Sustainable Management of America's Nonfederal Forests, Board on Agriculture, National Research Council. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-309-05641-1 (cloth) 1. Forest policy—United States. 2. Forests and forestry—Economic aspects—United States. 3. Forest management—United States. 4. Sustainable forestry—United States. 5. Investments, American—United States. I. National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Prospects and Opportunities for Sustainable Management of America's Nonfederal Forests. SD565 .F568 1997 333.75'0973—ddc21 98-9017 CIP Cover art: Fog © Anne Kilham, Rockport, ME. Distributed by Pen & Inc. of Concord, NH. Used with permission. Additional copies of this report are available from National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, D.C. 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Printed in the United States of America. Copyright 1998 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

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--> Committee on Prospects and Opportunities for Sustainable Management of America's Nonfederal Forests PAUL V. ELLEFSON, Chair, University of Minnesota, St. Paul JAMES K. AGEE, University of Washington, Seattle KEITH A. ARGOW, National Woodland Owners Association, Vienna, Virginia JEANNE N. CLARKE, University of Arizona, Tucson PRESTON D. COLE, City Forestry Services, Milwaukee, Wisconsin DOMINICK A. DELLASALA, World Wildlife Fund, Washington, D.C. HENRY GHOLZ, University of Florida, Gainesville J. KEITH GILLESS, University of California, Berkeley PERRY R. HAGENSTEIN, Institute for Forest Analysis, Planning, and Policy, Wayland, Massachusetts NEIL D. HAMILTON, Drake University Law School, Des Moines, Iowa JAMES E. HUBBARD, Colorado State University, Fort Collins KEITH ROSS, New England Forestry Foundation, Groton, Massachusetts JOHN T. SHANNON, Arkansas Forestry Commission, Little Rock RONALD L. TROSPER, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff Staff CHARLOTTE KIRK BAER, Project Director ERIC A. FISCHER, Project Director* SHIRLEY B. THATCHER, Senior Project Assistant JULIEMARIE GOUPIL, Project Assistant *   Through December 1996.

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--> Board on Agriculture DALE E. BAUMAN, Chair, Cornell University JOHN M. ANTLE, Montana State University MAY R. BERENBAUM, University of Illinois LEONARD S. BULL, North Carolina State University WILLIAM B. DELAUDER, Delaware State College RICHARD R. HARWOOD, Michigan State University T. KENT KIRK, University of Wisconsin GEORGE E. SEIDEL, JR., Colorado State University SANDRA S. BATIE, Michigan State University ANTHONY S. EARL, Quarles & Brady Law Firm ESSEX E. FINNEY, JR., U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service CORNELIA FLORA, Iowa State University GEORGE R. HALLBERG, University of Iowa HARLEY W. MOON, Iowa State University WILLIAM L. OGREN, University of Illinois JOHN W. SUTTIE, University of Wisconsin JAMES J. ZUICHES, Washington State University Staff J. PAUL GILMAN, Executive Director MICHAEL J. PHILLIPS, Director

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--> Preface Forests are an important part of everyday life for most Americans. They provide timber, soil, wildlife, recreation, beauty, and relief within rural and urban environments. An issue of increasing concern is the management of forestlands for diverse objectives, including economic returns, biological and ecological integrity of forest resources, and quality of life for populations in rural and urban areas. Thoughtful management of forests is clearly becoming crucial to achieving multifaceted goals and ensuring a productive future for forests. Traditionally, forestlands in the United States have been categorized as forests owned by the government (public) and forests that are privately owned. The focus of this report is nonfederal forests, or those forests owned by industrial private landowners, nonindustrial private landowners, Native Americans, and state and locally owned forestlands. The issues addressed in this report are primarily those of private forests and private forestland owners, with special attention to nonindustrial private forests and nonindustrial private forestland owners. At the request of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Forest Service, the National Research Council's Board on Agriculture convened a 14-member Committee on Prospects and Opportunities for Sustainable Management of America's Nonfederal Forests to assess the status of the nation's nonfederal forests and to examine the role of the federal government in contributing to sustainable management of nonfederal forestlands. This study responds to the recognized need for evaluating the current programs and policies directed toward the nation's nonfederal forests and integrates information on the management and use of nonfederal forests while accounting for trends in ownership, location, composition, and condition of forestlands. The committee began its work in March 1996, seeking to understand the overarching industrial, environmental, social, programmatic, and policy contexts of nonfederal forest management. Issues were analyzed by bringing together views of experts in the general areas of forest policy and private land ownership as well as those of environmental, ecological, economic, legal, and social sciences. Throughout the course of this study, a close examination of the relationship between forest management issues and public needs was carried out through the conduct of public forums held in several regions of the United States. Invitations were extended for submission of written comments to the committee; responses were received from representatives of the forest industry, Native Americans, environmental organizations, consulting foresters, federal, state, and local

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--> governments, nonindustrial private landowners, and concerned citizens of all contiguous states and Hawaii and Alaska. This report, Forested Landscapes in Perspective: Prospects and Opportunities for Sustainable Management of America's Nonfederal Forests, might make its most significant contribution by bringing to light those issues related to private forestland inventory, ownership, and management that have gone unrecognized and that deserve attention today. The information contained in this report improves the knowledge base for directing the role of the federal government in nonfederal forest management. In addition, the report articulates issues for consideration regarding a policy for our nation's forests, options for improving sustainable management of nonfederal forests, and recognizes a variety of approaches for a federal role in sustainable management of nonfederal forestlands. As a basis for the committee's deliberations, several aspects relevant to its task are defined. Part One of the report focuses on concepts of sustainability, which are presented in Chapter 1. In Part Two, general descriptions of the U.S. forest landscape are provided. The overall status and characteristics of the nation's nonfederal forests are reviewed in Chapter 2. Benefits and values that are attributable to forests in the United States are outlined in Chapter 3. Current policies and programs directed at America's nonfederal forests are described and defined in Chapter 4. Part Three of the report begins with a detailed analysis of the ecological aspects of nonfederal forest management presented in Chapter 5. Chapter 6 examines public and private institutions and their role in nonfederal forest management. Current programs and policies, including education, management, technical assistance, tax policies, regulatory programs, and various incentives that affect nonfederal forests, are described in Chapter 7. A discussion of public and private investments in nonfederal forests is provided in Chapter 8. Information needs with regard to research, monitoring, and technology transfer are outlined in Chapter 9. In Chapter 10, resource owner responsibilities and rights are addressed. In the final chapter of the report, management of U.S. nonfederal forestland in an international and global context is discussed. Throughout the report, the committee focused on emerging environmental issues such as forest fragmentation and biodiversity as well as other prominent issues such as the availability of timber supplies. Particular attention was given to current program and policy initiatives, the institutional setting within which they are pursued, and the information base for evaluating effectiveness and deficiencies. This information was used as the basis for evaluating ways in which the federal role might be modified to meet emerging needs and issues. The context for this evaluation the apparently ever-growing demand for the goods and services provided by nonfederal forests on the one hand, and limited federal and state budgets, and a political climate that favors reduction of government spending on the other. Emerging issues, such as global climate change and threats to biodiversity, for which nonfederal forests may help provide solutions, lack the immediacy of the wildfires that did much to galvanize support for the

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--> federal role in nonfederal forests. The committee hopes that this report stimulates action for improved, coordinated partnerships between public and private interests in the management of these forests. The recommendations provided by the committee in this report are the result of many hours of careful listening, coordinated planning, painstaking analyses, thoughtful deliberations, cooperative efforts, and a continuous flow and exchange of resourceful ideas. The wish of the committee, whose membership is as diverse as the issues related to nonfederal forests, is that these recommendations will be implemented in the manner and spirit in which they were developed. Paul Ellefson, Chair Committee on Prospects and Opportunities for Sustainable Management of America's Nonfederal Forests

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--> The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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--> Acknowledgments We gratefully acknowledge the many people who provided information and insight to the committee by participating in the regional public forums held in conjunction with this study during the spring of 1996. The wealth of input received from a vast array of stakeholders at these public forums assisted the committee in shaping its views and preparing the recommendations presented in this report. The committee also expresses thanks to those who took time from their busy schedules to attend various committee meetings. We offer our gratitude to the following invited speakers who shared their expertise and experience at these meetings: Oluf Aalde Royal Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture Oslo, Norway Thomas Birch USDA Forest Service United States Department of Agriculture Joan Comanor Natural Resources Conservation Service United States Department of Agriculture Charles H. W. Foster John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University Needham, Massachusetts Jan Heino Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Helsinki, Finland David Kittredge Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management University of Massachusetts Thomas Larson Integrated Urban Forestry, Inc. Laguna Hills, California

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--> Robert Moulton USDA Forest Service United States Department of Agriculture Eric Oldar California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection David Perry Oregon State University Jeffrey Romm University of California Gerald Rose Minnesota Department of Natural Resources St. Paul, Minnesota Henry Swan Wagner Forest Management Ltd. Lyme, New Hampshire Courtland Washburn Hancock Timber Resource Group John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company It is with most sincere appreciation that we acknowledge the outstanding contribution and wealth of information provided to the committee by Donald G. MacKay, Research Associate, Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota. Without his efforts, the work of this committee would not have been possible.

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--> Contents PREFACE   v ACKNOWLEDGMENTS   ix EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1     Extensive and Important Forests   1     Federal Role in Sustainability   2     Challenges for the Future   3     Committee Recommendations   4     Long-Term Forest Health and Integrity   4     Policies, Planning, and Organizing   4     Programs for the Future   7     Investments in Sustainability   8     Information Needs for Decisions   9     Diverse Ownership Considerations   10     The Global Context   10 PART ONE: SUSTAINABILITY AND THE FEDERAL ROLE IN NONFEDERAL FORESTS     1   INVESTING IN SUSTAINABILITY OF NONFEDERAL FORESTS   15     Introduction   15     Insufficient Investments   15     Sustainability as a Focus   16     Potential Concepts   16     Committee Perspective   17     Federal Role in Sustainability   20     Summary of Findings   21

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--> PART TWO: NONFEDERAL FOREST RESOURCE AND PROGRAM LANDSCAPE     2   RESOURCE AND OWNERSHIP CHARACTERISTICS   25     Introduction   25     Resource Characteristics   25     Forestland Area   25     Timberland   27     Conversion to Non-Forest   27     Urban and Community Forestland   27     Tree Planting and Plantations   28     Ownership Characteristics   29     Private Ownership   29     Nonfederal Public Ownership   30     Summary of Findings   31 3   FOREST VALUES AND BENEFITS   32     Introduction   32     Employment and Income   32     Timber and Wood Products   34     Nontimber Forest Products   36     Urban and Community Benefits   37     Recreational Opportunities   39     Ecological Benefits   40     Summary of Findings   41 4   POLICIES AND PROGRAMS   42     Introduction   42     Federally Directed Programs   42     Assistance and Incentive Programs   44     Forest Health Management   44     Cooperative Forestry Programs   45     Transfer Programs   45     Extension and Outreach   45     Federal Regulatory Programs   46     State-Level Programs   46     Assistance and Incentive Programs   47     Program Focus   47     Regional Differences   48     Regulatory Programs   49     State Programs   49     Local Programs   50     Program Effectiveness   51     Summary of Findings   53

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--> PART THREE: MAJOR POLICY AND PROGRAM LEVEL ISSUES ACROSS THE LANDSCAPE     5   CHANGING CONDITIONS OF THE FOREST   57     Introduction   57     Issues Involving Forest Condition   57     Biodiversity   57     Forest Fragmentation and Habit Isolation   59     Rare and Endangered Species Habitat   60     Forest Management Intensity   61     Forest Fires   64     Air Pollution   65     Carbon Sequestration   67     Forest Insects and Diseases   68     Alien Plants   69     Watershed Integrity   70     Summary of Findings and Recommendations   71 6   INVESTMENTS FOR BETTER INSTITUTIONAL RELATIONSHIPS   72     Introduction   72     National Policy for Nonfederal Forests   72     National Focus and Strategic Direction   74     Organization Within the Federal Government   76     Major Reviews   76     Federal Leadership   79     Improving Federal Organization   79     Linkages Between Federal and Nonfederal Entities   82     Federal Linkages   82     State Organization   84     Improving Federal Linkages to Nonfederal Interests   84     Summary of Findings and Recommendations   88 7   POLICY AND PROGRAM INVESTMENTS   90     Introduction   90     Governmental Initiatives   90     Private and Voluntary Initiatives   91     Forest-Industry-Initiatives   91     Nonprofit-Organization-Initiatives   93     Forestry-Consultant Initiatives   94     Volunteer Efforts   94     Certified Forest Practices   95

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-->     Education and Technical Assistance   96     Education and Information   96     Technical Assistance   97     Fiscal and Tax Incentives   98     Fiscal Incentives   98     Tax Incentives   99     Estate Taxes   99     Capital Gains Tax   100     Management Cost Deductions   100     Reforestation Investment Tax Incentive   101     State Tax Policies   101     Regulatory Programs   102     Federal Regulatory Initiatives   103     State and Local Initiatives   104     Program Coordination   104     Federal Regulatory Role   104     Regulatory Program Issues   105     Easements and Rental Agreements   105     Conservation Easements   106     Conservation Rental Contracts   106     Safe Harbor Agreements   107     Summary of Findings and Recommendations   107 8   INVESTMENT LEVELS AND POTENTIAL OPPORTUNITIES   109     Introduction   109     Forest Investments   109     Investment Environments   110     Investment Climate   110     Landowner Investment Circumstances   111     Nonindustrial Private Owners   111     Industrial Owners   112     State and County Forests   113     Tribal Forests   114     Urban and Community Forests   116     Investment Issue Areas   117     Forestland Area   117     Timber Inventory   118     Nonindustrial Private Forests   118     Industrial Timberlands   118     Nonfederal Public Forests   119     Timber Management   119     Private Investments   121     Scale of Private Investments   121

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-->     Capital and Rates of Return   121     Regulatory Effects   122     Public Investments   122     Federal Investments   123     State and Municipal Investments   124     Scale of Public Investments   124     Infrastructure Investments   125     Incidence of Investments   125     Potential Strategies   126     Remedies for Investment Disadvantages   126     Sources of Capital for Investments   127     Summary of Findings and Recommendations   127 9   INVESTING IN RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER   133     Introduction   133     Research and Development   133     Quantity and Quality of Research   134     Organization and Management of Research   135     Planning and Focus of Research   135     Information and Technology Transfer   136     Monitoring and Information Management   137     Assessment and Monitoring   137     Information Management   138     Summary of Findings and Recommendations   139 10   RESOURCE-OWNER RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES TO INVEST   141     Introduction   141     Historic Dimension   141     Responsible Stewardship   142     Private Property Rights and Societal Action   143     Native American Perspectives on Property and Sovereignty   146     Balancing Rights and Responsibilities   149     Summary of Findings and Recommendations   154 11   INVESTING IN GLOBAL AND INTERNATIONAL SETTINGS   156     Introduction   156     Global Considerations   156     International Accords   158     Environmental Agreements   158     Trade Agreements   158     International Issues Affecting Nonfederal Forests   160

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-->     Timber Export   160     Global Climate Change   160     Environmental Concerns   161     Forests as Emission Absorbers   162     Migratory Wildlife Habitat   162     Summary of Findings and Recommendations   163 APPENDIXES   165 REFERENCES   210 ABOUT THE AUTHORS   227 INDEX   231

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--> Figures and Boxes Figure 2-1   Nonfederal forestland ownership in the United States by region (designated by different patterns), percentage of total forestland owned by nonfederal forestland owners, and percentage change in forestland acreage between 1987 and 1992 (increase and decrease indicated by arrows)   26 Figure 3-1   Economic characteristics of wood-based industries in the United States   33 Figure 8-1   Landowners' reasons for owning forestland (% of landowners)   111 Box 1-1   Definitions of Sustainability, Sustainable Management, and Sustainable Development   17 Box 1-2   Principles of Forest Resource Sustainability: Two Perspectives   18 Box 3-1   Wildcrafting Uses of Forest Resources   37 Box 3-2   Urban and Community Forest Values: Tree Canopies in Milwaukee, Wisconsin   38 Box 4-1   Federal Agencies Involved in the Administration of Programs with Implications for Nonfederal Forests   43 Box 5-1   Condition of the Nation's Forests: Perspective of the USDA Forest Service   58 Box 5-2   Definitions of Biodiversity   59 Box 5-3   Definitions of Ecosystem Management   62 Box 5-4   Watersheds: Measures of Their Integrity   71 Box 6-1   Key Issues Identified at the Congressional Research Service Symposia, March 1994   78 Box 6-2   Minnesota Institutions for Cooperative Engagement of Interests in the Development and Implementation of Major Forest-Resource Policies and Programs   87 Box 7-1   Most to Least Commonly Used State Programs to Influence Private Forestry Practices, 1992   92 Box 8-1   Innovative Programs Involving the Use and Management of Stateor County-Owned Forestlands   115 Box 8-2   Michigan's Long-Term Bonding Program: A Creative Approach to Investing in Public Nonfederal Forests   128 Box 8-3   Norway's Forest Trust Fund: A Creative Approach to Investing in Nonindustrial Private Forests   129

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--> Box 8-4   Oregon's Forest Resource Trust: A Creative Approach to Investing in Nonindustrial Private Forests   130 Box 10-1   Landowner Rights and Responsibilities: A Range of Elements   144 Box 10-2   Private Property Responsibility Initiative by the National Woodland Owners Association   146 Box 10-3   State Property-Rights Laws   151 Box 11-1   Selected Principles for the Management, Conservation and Sustainable Development of the World's Forests   159 Box Appendix C-1   National Forest Health Monitoring Program (NFHMP)   207

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Forested Landscapes in Perspective

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