Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Importance of Family Owned Forests

The American Forest Foundation (AFF) recently supported the Forest Service and the Family Forest Research Center to conduct research quantifying the benefits family-owned forests provide and the potential threats these forests may face. We now have a better sense of the value from—and potential loss of—these privately owned woodlands. AFF is planning to release this exciting new research in a series of 5 blog posts, one per month, focusing on specific issues like wood, water and wildlife.  To launch this effort, I’d like to share this Huffington Post op/ed piece written by AFF CEO Tom Martin. The piece introduces this research more generally. 

With this research we are able to answer questions like; how much wood is available on family-owned lands? What about prime wildlife habitat acres or carbon storage? For the first time, we can begin to answer these questions. While we’ve had some broad information about private lands, with this research we we can now break out the more than 280 million acres owned by families and individuals. 

As Tom states, "The fact is that these precious lands are under tremendous pressure and their sustainability is severely threatened. The American Forest Foundation (AFF) is releasing groundbreaking research to quantify the threats that family-owned forests face and why we need to protect the many benefits forests provide to our environment and economy"

I am planning to share this research information with my readers you over the next few months.

(AFF, Forests and Families, Feb 3, 2015)

Vanishing Pieces of the Puzzle: The Importance of Family Forests to Conservation Goals
Anyone who has ever put together a puzzle has had this experience: You're in the home stretch, and you reach for the last piece you need to finally finish, only it's not there. You look everywhere, stewing in frustration as you think about what could have happened to it: "Maybe it got lost. Did I vacuum it up?" Regardless of the cause, your puzzle can never be complete, and all the time you spent working on the rest of it feels like it's been for naught. Now imagine that a third of the pieces are gone.

That's what will happen to the puzzle of protecting critical forestland if we don't make family-owned woodlands part of the conservation conversation. More than a third of U.S. forests are owned by individuals and families -- a larger share than the federal government or various companies own. As we work to protect both the environment and rural economies, family-owned forests are hugely important yet too often overlooked.

To read the full story click here.

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