I. Federally Directed Assistance and Incentive Programs
Forest Health Management
Federal Lands Forest Health Management and Cooperative Lands Forest Health Management Programs
A major function of the Federal and Cooperative Lands Forest Health Management programs is to provide technical and financial assistance to states and other federal agencies. The USDA Forest Service cooperates with state governments to survey and evaluate insect and disease epidemics and provides public nonfederal and private landowners with technical assistance and training. The USDA Forest Service also provides information needed to assess the health of all the nation's forests, to identify ecosystem conditions conductive to insect and disease epidemics, and to plan coordinated pest-management activities when insect and disease epidemics threaten federal, state, county, municipal, and private forestlands. The cost of this program is shared by the USDA Forest Service and state governments. States provide 50 percent or more of survey funding. Financial assistance is also provided to state agencies and a number of insect- and disease-suppression activities based on the following rates: 25 percent on public nonfederal lands, 33 1/3 percent on industrial lands, and 50 percent on nonindustrial private lands.
Cooperative Lands Fire Protection Program
The Cooperative Lands Fire Protection Program is made up of several smaller programs that provide technical and financial assistance to state governments.
Fire protection needs are expected to increase gradually over time to support the level of fire protection needed for valuable wildlands and structures and to meet the increased threat of fire resulting from human habitation in places where wildlands and urban areas meet. The objectives of the smaller programs include: reducing the risk of wildfire; improving the efficiency of state government fire protection programs; organizing, training, and equipping rural fire departments; and encouraging more regional and national cooperation. To accomplish these objectives, excess federal equipment is recycled and loaned to state agencies for wildfire protection and suppression; assistance to the states, primarily in the form of technical advice during extreme fire emergencies is provided; and individual fire prevention and protection awareness is promoted.
Economic Action Programs
Funded at $14.5 million in FY 1996, these programs collectively are designed to strengthen communities, diversify local economies, and integrate economic and environmental concerns. Specific activities include research to improve the efficiency of wood uses, expand recycling, and extend the useful life of wood products; development and expansion of marketing strategies that increase the economic activity associated with forest resources; and providing broad-based assistance that helps communities diversify and expand their economies through the use of natural resources.
Forest Legacy Program
Funded at $3 million in FY 1996, this program uses conservation easements and other mechanisms to protect forests from conversion to nonforest uses.
Forest Stewardship Program
Funded at $23.4 million in FY 1996, this program assists private landowners in the application of biological, ecological, and economic resource management principles and seeks to balance commodity outputs with noncommodity resources.
Natural Resource Conservation Education
Although not funded in FY 1996, this program is designed to facilitate learning about ecosystems and natural resources, and their conservation, management, use, and value to society.
Pacific Northwest Assistance Program
Funded at $16 million in FY 1996, this program provides economic adjustment assistance to states and communities affected by the President's Forest Plan for the Pacific Northwest. It includes the Old Growth Diversification Program.
Stewardship Incentives Program
Funded at $4.5 million in FY 1996, this program is designed to enhance the management of nonindustrial private forestlands through financial assistance in the form of cost sharing. Practices funded include the development of forest stewardship plans, reforestation and afforestation, forest improvement, agro-forestry projects, soil and water protection and improvement, riparian and wetland protection and improvement, fisheries habitat enhancement, wildlife habitat enhancement, and forest recreation enhancement.
Urban and Community Forestry
Funded at $25.5 million in FY 1996, the USDA Forest Service, in partnership with the state forestry agencies, provides technical information on planning and managing urban forests. It works to improve communities through the planting and managing of trees, shrubs, and other vegetation (USDA Forest Service 1989a).
Transfer and Cost-Share Programs
Conservation Reserve Program
Authorized by the Food Security Act of 1985, the CRP targets the most fragile farmland by encouraging farmers to stop growing crops on cropland designated by soil conservationists and to plant a permanent vegetative cover instead (for example, grass, trees). In return, farmers receive an annual rental payment for the term of the multiyear contract. Cost-shares are also available to help establish the permanent planting of grass, legumes, trees, windbreaks, or wildlife flora. Through 1992, 2.3 million acres of trees have been planted under this program (Kurtz et al. 1994).
The 1996 farm bill adjusted the CRP, and reauthorized it through 2002. Currently, up to 36.4 million acres can be enrolled at any one time. New enrollments can replace expired or terminated contracts. Owners or operators who entered into a contract before 1995 can terminate contracts on certain acres after giving written notice. Their contracts must have been in effect for at least five years. Lands with high environmental values are not eligible for early release. The Secretary of Agriculture has discretionary authority to offer future early withdrawals of CRP acres.
Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program
The Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, a recent addition to CRP, is designed to help landowners improve wildlife habitat on private lands. The program's funding ($50 million in CRP funds) is to be expended over several years. The program provides cost-sharing to landowners for developing habitat for upland wildlife, wetland wildlife, endangered species, fisheries, and other wildlife. It also provides for consulting with state technical committees to set priorities for cost-share measures and habitat-development projects.
Environmental Quality Incentives Program
EQIP is a new program that combines the functions of the Agricultural Conservation Program (ACP), the Water Quality Incentives Program, the Great Plains Conservation Program, and the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program. EQIP is funded at $130 million in FY 1996 and $200 million annually thereafter. Livestock-related conservation practices will receive 50 percent of program funding, and the remainder can be used for other conservation concerns. Land eligible for EQIP contracts is agricultural land that poses a serious problem to soil, water, or related resources. The program is to be implemented through 5-to 10-year contracts to provide technical assistance and pays up to 75 percent of the costs of conservation practices. Activities under the contract must be carried out according to a conservation plan. Total cost-share and incentive payments to any person are limited to $10,000 annually, and to $50,000 for the life of the contract.
Forestry Incentives Program
The Forestry Incentives Program (FIP), established in 1973, provides financial assistance to private forestland owners for tree planting and timber stand improvement. Between 1974 and 1992, approximately 3 million acres of nonindustrial private forestlands were planted (Kurtz et al. 1994). The requirements for participating landowners include a minimum quality site and a minimum plantation size. Funding for the program flows through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, which issues the cost-share payments to participants. However, the USDA Forest Service, in cooperation with the state forestry agencies, provides technical assistance to private landowners participating in the program. This program has been authorized through 2002. Total cost shares provided in 1995 were $9,258,119.
Tree Assistance Program
The Tree Assistance Program (TAP) provides financial assistance to cover losses such as orchard trees, forest-tree seedlings, and nursery inventory. The trees
eligible for relief vary slightly from year-to-year. Eligibility for relief comes primarily from weather-related causes, such as drought, flood, ice storms, or similar conditions. The program is administered by USDA Farm Service Agency. Total cost-shares provided in FY 1995 were $3,781,891.
II. Federal Regulatory Programs
Clean Water Act of 1972 (as amended) charges states with the responsibility of developing plans to manage and assess the extent of impact of nonpoint sources of water pollutants. The plans chosen must be approved by EPA. In some cases the plans have been the genesis of a state's forest-practice regulatory program. Enforcement of the nonpoint-source provisions are a state responsibility. Section 404 of the act authorizes the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers to regulate wetlands, although ''normal" forestry practices are exempt. The act also requires permits for placement of dredge or fill material in wetlands, although normal silvicultural activities are exempt (U.S. General Accounting Office 1993). The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers enforces the dredge and fill program, although the EPA retains ultimate authority over exemptions and their interpretation.
(Reference: 33 U.S.C. 1251 et. seq.; Clean Water Act [CWA] Sections 301-404; 40 C.F.R. Sections 110-129)
Coastal Zone Management Act Re-authorization Amendments of 1990 charge states with implementing in coastal zones various forest-management measures that must be in conformity with guidelines published by EPA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. States must demonstrate that their implementing programs are as effective as measures recommended by EPA. In some states, state programs have included regulatory actions. This act requires states to devise and implement programs to preserve, protect, and restore coastal resources. Program implementation must be consistent with federally established forest-management measures. Implementation of the latter must be with enforceable policies and procedures. Administrative responsibility rests with EPA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA).
(Reference: as amended by PL 92-583; 16 USC 1451 et seq.; 15 C.F.R.; Federal Consistency With Approved State Coastal Management Programs 15 C.F.R. 930)
Clean Air Act authorizes EPA to establish air-quality standards that are to be met primarily via state implementation plans. In addition to health concerns, states programs are to prevent "impairment of visibility" in certain designated areas (urban areas, national parks, wildlife refuges, and wilderness areas). States must adopt programs that accomplish federally established air quality standards. From a forest-practice perspective, prescribed burning is the primary focus of current
programs. State forestry offices usually administer smoke-management programs. The visibility-impairment provision in implementing the law continues to cause confusion. EPA is responsible for administering the act.
(Reference: 42 U.S.C. Sections 7401 - 7671q; Clean Air Act [CAA] Sections 101 - 618; 40 C.F.R. Sections 50 - 95)
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensations, and Liability Act of 1980 (Superfund) authorizes federal remedial action on hazardous-substance disposal sites that are a danger to public health. EPA is authorized to clean up the site and recover the costs of doing so from the parties responsible for the hazardous site. Forest landowners can be held liable for hazardous-waste disposal by previous parties. This act imposes liability (for example, cost recovery for cleanup) on private parties that contribute to the improper disposal of hazardous substances, (such as cleaning solvents, wood-treating chemicals, and old chemicals). EPA is responsible for administering the act.
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act of 1991 (amended) regulates pesticide application by requiring that restricted-use pesticides be applied only by certified applicators. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rigorously enforces the act in any state that does not fully implement a plan that is consistent with the requirements of the act. In some states, county and municipal requirements might be more stringent than federal requirements; that has caused considerable confusion. The Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) is also a noteworthy provision of the act that requires landowners to protect workers from pesticides (for example, by providing warning signs). This act requires federal standards for registration, distribution, and use of pesticides, including protection of workers from pesticide exposure. Conditional authority is authorized to remove from use any unregistered pesticide. Most pesticide application is limited to certified applicators. Enforcement rests with EPA, although state and local governments may (within limits) regulate pesticide use. (References: 40 C.F.R. Section 151 et seq.)
Endangered Species Act of 1973 (as amended) authorizes regulatory actions to conserve endangered and threatened species and their ecosystems. Regulations for terrestrial and fresh water species are administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; for marine and anadromous species, the National Marine Fisheries Service. Species listing and habitat designation is undertaken by a lengthy rule-making process; a decision to list a species is based solely on biological factors. For listed species, federal regulatory action can be initiated for (1) forestry practices that jeopardize any species' existence (or destroy any species' habitat); and (2) persons that harass, harm, kill, or capture listed species. The first regulatory action applies primarily to federal lands but can involve private land if the landowner seeks some form of federal action (for example, supplying a permit).
The second action can be taken against both public and private forest landowners. The law also regulates removal or damage to any endangered plants on federal land; private landowners can proceed without regard to listed plants if they are not in violation of state law. This act prohibits harmful actions, including habitat modification, that would harass, harm, kill, trap, or involve collection of endangered or threatened species of flora and fauna. Habitat conservation plans might be required. The act is enforced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine and Fisheries Service. Citizen lawsuits can also be initiated.
Rivers and Harbors Act of 1890 regulates water-borne transportation of logs. A permit for obstructing waterways must be obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. For all practical purposes, modern forestry practices are little affected by the act.
(Regulatory reference: 16 U.S.C. Sections 1531-1544)
Occupational Safety and Health Act requires the establishment and implementation of workplace safety and health standards. The act affects forest-related occupations, such as pulpwood workers, by setting standards for use of explosives, protective measures for chain-saw users, field sanitation conditions, and ways of felling, bucking, and limbing trees. The U.S. Department of Labor is responsible for administration and enforcement of the act.
III. State Directed Forestry Programs
Assistance and Incentive Programs
Educational and technical-assistance programs are commonly used by state forestry agencies as means of accomplishing any one of the above forestry activities (Table A-27). Although state interest in promoting reforestation is accomplished primarily by educational and technical-assistance programs, nearly 8 out of 10 states also use fiscal-incentive programs for such purposes.
Voluntary-guideline programs accounted for 13 percent of program applications. Again, depending on the forestry activity, voluntary-guideline programs exist in 30 to 68 percent of all states (Table A-27). Voluntary-guideline programs provide information about the best management practices for protecting aesthetics, wildlife, and water quality. Typical topics include the location, construction, and maintenance of roads; stream-crossing systems to protect streambeds; buffer strips or management zones along streams to reduce soil disturbance during harvesting; and the application of chemicals during site preparation for reforestation after harvest.
Tax-incentive program, which represented only 6 percent of program applications, is the program type least used to influence the forestry activities of private landowners. Depending on the purpose, only 6 to 32 percent of states have such programs (Table A-27). Although a majority of states do have special property tax assessments for private timberland used for general forestry or conservation purposes, tax incentives are generally not used to influence the application of specific forest practices. Tax incentives are usually part of a larger and more complicated system of state tax policies.
Fiscal-incentive programs comprised 15 percent of the 1992 program applications nationwide. Depending on program objectives, fiscal-incentive programs exist in 26 to 78 percent of all states (Table A-27). Financial assistance might be provided for timber production and stand improvement, fish and wildlife habitat management, re-establishment and management of forested wetlands, establishment and maintenance of windbreaks and shelterbelts, aesthetics management, management of recreational opportunities, and management of native vegetation.
State Level Programs
Regulatory programs account for 11 percent of state program applications nationwide. They exist in 16 to 54 percent of the states, depending on the forestry objective of the regulatory program (Table A-27). Although regulatory in nature, not all of these programs deal exclusively with forestry; they might, for example, represent authority to regulate nonpoint sources of water pollutants generally—of which forests might be only one of the sources. Though less common, regulatory programs administered by a state's chief forestry agency also protect forests from wildfire, insects, and diseases (54 percent of states) and protect wildlife and threatened and endangered species (40 percent) (Table A-27). Least common are regulatory programs that promote reforestation (28 percent) and enhance the recreational and aesthetic opportunities associated with private forests (16 percent).
Local Level Programs
Municipalities and townships are the most common units of government enacting regulations. The most common goal for local regulatory ordinances is the protection of environmental benefits associated with forests—aesthetics, erosion control, water and air quality, and diverse wildlife habitat. In 1991, the number of local governmental units regulating forestry practices and the total number of these units were as follows: Colorado, 3 of 63 counties; Delaware, 1 of
3 counties; Florida, various of 57 counties; Georgia, 11 of 159 counties; Illinois, 100 of 1,200 municipalities and 1 of 102 counties; Louisiana, 1 of 64 parishes; Maryland, 20 of 23 counties; Michigan, 10 to 15 of 1,200 townships; Minnesota, 1 of 87 counties; New Jersey, 300 of 567 municipalities and 15 of 21 counties; New York, 70 of 900 municipalities; North Dakota, 7 of 53 counties; Pennsylvania, 13 of 420 municipalities; Vermont, 2 of 251 municipalities; and Wisconsin, 3 to 4 of 1,500 municipalities and 2 of 72 counties.
Source: Ellefson et al. 1995.