Novel Forestry Outreach Shows Success

In 2012, the USDA Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service partnered with a number of nonprofit organizations to create an award-winning program to help landowners address heirs’ property, land retention, and natural resource justice issues. The Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program (SFLR) has become a model for addressing issues faced by…  More 

Helping Families Keep & Sustain Land

Children often inherit their parents’ homes and land. But what if there is no will or estate plan? In such cases, state laws determine how real estate and other assets are divided. In most cases, property is passed to heirs in split shares. “Without a will, property is typically passed to heirs with a clouded…  More 

Top Ten of 2020

As 2020 comes to an end, it is a good time to gather our most-read CompassLive stories from the past year. Each one highlights the work of USDA Forest Service scientists at the Southern Research Station. We hope you enjoy reading this collection, which includes the most popular of 2020 plus a few more that…  More 

Highlighting Heirs’ Property Ownership and Land Loss

A USDA Forest Service publication on heirs’ property ownership across the southern U.S. highlights a kind of land ownership prevalent among lower wealth, African Americans in the Black Belt South, central Appalachian whites, and Hispanic Americans in U.S. southwest colonia communities. A meeting co-hosted by the Southern Research Station and the Federal Reserve Bank of…  More 

African American Forest Landowners: Overcoming Obstacles

African American landowners have had a historically difficult time becoming engaged in forestry due to a number of factors, including discrimination. Another factor is heirs’ property, which refers to land that has been passed down informally from generation to generation without a will. This often means that distant relatives co-own a piece of land, and…  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 

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 

Ride, Drive, or Walk? The Decision is Not So Simple for Some

In the U.S., about a third of all greenhouse gas emissions are related to travel. Many of these trips are short – perhaps a 10 minute drive to work, or a 15 minute trek to the grocery store. Using public transit, walking, or biking to these destinations could help limit carbon dioxide emissions. However, there…  More