Monday, January 16, 2012

Top Family Forestry Issues for 2012

With the new year upon us I thought it would be appropriate to share with my readers the Top Family Forestry Issues for 2012.  There were recently published by the National Woodland Owners Association (NWOA) in their National Woodlands magazine special issue featuring family lands and conservation (Fall 2011).  The NWOA has been rating the top issues since 1986.  The issues are selected and ranked by the leaders of the Alliance of Landowners Associations which is made up of 36 individual state organizations affiliated with NWOA.  So here they are.

1. Fair Income, Inheritance, and Property Tax
NWOA believes federal and state income taxes on forest resources should be based on a fair benefit/cost evaluation, that death taxes for woodlands must not be based on the concept of wealth redistribution, and local property taxes should reflect the benefits to society of well managed forests.
2. Timber Markets, Biomass, and Free Trade
NWOA supports fair access to world markets, measures to maintain local markets, and advancing the national renewable energy initiative.
3. Right-to-Practice Forestry & Private Property Rights
NWOA believes private property ownership rights and responsibilities should be carefully protected.
4. Extension Education and Service Forestry
NWOA recommends an increase in the Renewable Resources Education Act funding level and encourages all state forestry agencies to maintain effective service forestry programs.
5. Keeping Forests as Forests
NWOA believes that all forests regardless of ownership should be recognized as valuable, productive, and sustainable ecosystems.
6. Water Quality and Quantity
NWOA recognizes that clean water in reliable quantities are in some regions already considered to be the most imporatnt product of woodlands and supports the use of voluntary Best Management Practices and "bad actor" enforcement clauses.
7. Stewardship Incentives: Cost-Sharing & Tax Credits
NWOA supports forestry in the Farm Bill programs such as EQUIP and Forest Legacy.  They encourage each state to develop incentives to assist exceptional stewardship by landowners.
8. Certification of Forest Practices & Practioners
NWOA recommends the use of certified loggers and foresters as an indication of their education and skill.
9. Wildfire Suppression & Early Detection
NWOA recognizes the difficult choices facing fire managers in dead and dying forests and the conflicting goals within the wildland urban interface.

What do you think?  Do you agree?  Are there any they missed?  Let me know what you think are the top issues facing forest landowners in your area.

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