Demand the Appalachian Standard

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With the forest land base eroded by the expansion of population centers and other withdrawals, the only possible solution is to intensify the growth of trees on remaining available acreage.  The greatest room for improvement lies with the nonindustrial private forests of the eastern half of the United States and the National Forests of the Rocky Mountains and Pacific states.

The nonindustrial private ownerships -- nearly all of which are located in the South, East and Midwest -- comprise 297 million acres, or 59 percent of the nation's commercial forest land.  Despite the enormity of all the aggregate acreage, individual holdings are typically small. There are some 4.5 million individual owners.

These people come from all walks of life.  There are wide variations in personal interests dictating what they choose to do with their land.  But one thing the great majority of them have in common is lack of money or inclination for long-term forestry investments.

Forest-based industries have initiated programs to help give these millions of small owners the incentives and assistance they need to practice forest management.  But more money and participation are needed.  If sufficiently interested, small owners may agree to the development of their lands -- but usually little more.  It is increasingly apparent that much of the responsibility must ultimately be borne by Federal forestry programs.

Although forest products industry lands constitute only 13 percent of the nation's commercial forests, these timber lands supply the nation with a third of its annual harvest.  To attain such high levels on a sustained yield bases, the forest-based industries have a full time job requiring millions of dollars in long-term investments.

But the main reasons for Federal participation are the enormous economic and environmental benefits to be gained by the public at large.  Some of the small owners might want to devote their lands to commercial timber production, others to recreation, still others to wildlife preserves.  Yet, if even a bare majority could be given the tools, know how and financing to practice scientific forestry, all of these benefits -- and more -- would increase tremendously, to be shared by all Americans. Congress plays a key role, since it provides the money and incentives needed for accelerated forest management on both public and private nonindustrial lands.

It's unreasonable to assume that every forest acre can provide multiple benefits.  But if a majority can be developed to potential and devoted to their most appropriate use, the forests of the United States will collectively be able to meet the needs of the future.

U.S. Forests Appalachian Forest Tree Growth Forest Quantity U.S. Forestry Begin Forest Practices The Future

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  Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers, Inc., P.O. Box 427, High Point, NC 27272 | Tel. (336) 885-8315