Monday, June 2, 2014

Top Ten Family Forestry Issues for 2014

In the Spring 2014 magazine "National Woodlands" published by the National Woodland Owners Association (NWOA) they provided a listing of the Top Ten Family Forestry Issues for 2014.  This is something that NWOA provides annually and is important enough to share with my readers.  If you are a member of NWOA give the article a read through.  If not a member of NWOA you may want to consider joining

It was interesting to read that support for Extension Forestry Education and Service Forestry had bumped private property rights from #3.  I have provided the complete listing with a quick description of each below.  Give them a read and see if they match your own "top ten."

1. Timber Markets, Biomass, and Fair Trade
For the second time in 5 years, landowner's concerns over developing and maintaining markets for timber and forest products has moved up to number 1, indicating that a majority of NWOA national and affiliate members do manage their woodlands for timber and forest products.

2. Fair Income, Inheritance, and Property Taxes
With the recent proposal by the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman David Camp (R-MI), to greatly simplify the federal tax code by removing most special tax regulations, including forestry, the issue remains a top concern.  These include the credit for reforestation expenses, capital gains treatment of timber sales, and limit some expensing of forest management costs.

3. Extension Education and Service Forestry
Since being founded in 1983, NWOA has been the most active and outspoken advocate of Forestry Extension with the byline: "Forestry Education Beats Forest Regulation." The leaders of the landowner associations voting these issues agree, raising the issue this year to the Top Three for the first time.  NWOA cautions that many landowners continue to favor face to face mentoring and demonstrations, especially with neighbor working groups.

4. Invasives and Forest Health
This issue examines the serious risks to landowners resulting from the growing number of invasive insects and diseases spreading into their woods.  The introduction of unwanted of unwanted plants, insects, and animals, the spread of disease and insect infestations, the implementation of new quarantines and grim prospects for damage control place this at #4.

5. Right to Practice Forestry and Private Property Rights
Respect and recognition of private property is guaranteed in the Constitution.  As rural American continues to transform from working farms and forests to home sites and workign landscapes, the character of the neighborhood changes. Newer rural residents often complain about unexpected logging on nearby lands, especially if it is within their view.

6. Water Quality and Quantity
Water, either too much of it or too little of it, is an issue of national importance.  Well managed forested watersheds are the easiest and most cost effective way of providing a continuous quantity of clean, good quality water.

7. Keeping Forests as Forests
Still in its infancy as a national concept, the idea is catching on with regional land use planners who see it as a tool to guide future development, including suburban subdivisions and location of industrial parks.

8. Stewardship Incentives: Cost-Sharing & Tax Credits
Federally forestry cost share programs have disappeared in the last two decades.  As a result largely to efforts by the "Forests in the Farm Bill Coalition" the new 2014 Farm Bill continued and even expanded programs available to woodland owners and even expanded programs available to woodland owners.

9. Wildfire: Suppression, Fuels, Prescribed Fire, Early Detection
Catastrophic fires, especially in the drought stricken west, are a serious and growing threat.  Congress reauthorized and expanded the Healthy Forests Restoration Act in the Farm Bill with the goal of reducing fuels and fire hazards.

10. Certification of Loggers, Foresters, and Forest Practices
Although the issue remains in last place, certification of loggers, foresters, and woodlands remains important.  NWOA has openly advocated the use and education of Certified or Trained Loggers. Be sure to only work with trained loggers on your property.

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