Family Forests Are the Ties That Bind the Landscape

Family forests have an enormous capacity to provide ecosystem services such as clean air and water, timber and nontimber forest products, wildlife habitat, and scenic beauty and recreation — benefits that stretch far beyond property lines. According to USDA Forest Service research, sustaining these services depends on not only the condition of individual family forests…  More 

Agroforestry Strategies for Landowners

When most people think of livestock and farming, they envision rolling, open fields with cows grazing on green grass. Add trees to that picture, and you have silvopasture — an agroforestry practice that combines livestock and forest management. Chris Fields-Johnson uses agroforestry on his 300-acre loblolly pine forest in Scottsville, VA. He had planned to…  More 

Identifying Potential Heirs Properties

Heirs’ property is inherited land that comes with a catch – a clouded title. “Without a clear title, families are at risk of losing their land and their wealth,” says U.S. Forest Service scientist Cassandra Johnson Gaither. Heirs’ property owners often cannot access credit, sell natural resources, or participate in state and federal land improvement…  More 

Heirs’ Property in the South

Children often inherit their parents’ homes and land. But what happens when there is no will or title? For many people, this is not an abstract question. “Heirs’ property is inherited land that two or more people own,” says U.S. Forest Service scientist Cassandra Johnson Gaither. “The property is typically passed to heirs without a…  More 

Sunshine, Sweat, and Tears

The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service launched a six-year program in 2012 to test the potential of sustainable forestry practices to help stabilize African-American land ownership, increase forest health, and build economic assets in the southern Black Belt. The Sustainable Forestry…  More 

After the Hurricane: Dealing with Damaged Trees

Hurricanes bring winds that can exceed 125 miles per hour, heavy rain, and flooding — any or all of which can damage trees. Some damage can be seen immediately, while some damage may not become apparent for years after a hurricane. On the other hand, what may initially seem like mortal damage — all the…  More 

State Line Meeting with Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi

On August 17 and 18, state foresters from Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, along with their staffs and personnel from the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS), gathered in Biloxi, MS. This was the third State Line Meeting for state foresters Wade Dubea of Louisiana and Charlie Morgan of Mississippi, and the first for Alabama State…  More 

Protecting Heirs and Stabilizing Communities

What do you do with Grandma’s house or farm when she dies without a will? Without a properly recorded will, the land is distributed to the children of the deceased as “tenants in common.” The process leaves the family without a clear and marketable title to family property and may require total agreement on any…  More 

Where Are the Southern Pine Beetles?

Between 2005 and 2015, only 18 counties in the southern U.S. experienced southern pine beetle outbreaks–fewer than two outbreak counties per year on average. U.S. Forest Service entomologist Chris Asaro wanted to know why and worked with two other Forest Health Protection scientists, John Nowak and Anthony Elledge, on a new review paper published in Forest…  More 

Promoting Sustainable Forestry on African American Family Lands

New insight on the challenges and opportunities facing African American family forest owners in the Southeast was just published by U.S. Forest Service scientists in Small Scale Forestry.  SRS research forester John Schelhas, SRS research social scientist Cassandra Johnson Gaither, and University of Georgia assistant research scientist Sarah Hitchner summarized interviews with 60 minority landowners in…  More