Payments for ecosystem services

People who own forested land may be able to sell the ecosystem services the land provides. Hunting leases are one example. For the years 2010-2019, payments for hunting leases, wildlife viewing fees, and other such services averaged $1.5 billion a year, as USDA Forest Service research economist Greg Frey and his colleagues estimate. Markets for…  More 

Forests to Faucets 2.0

Standing on the banks of the Yadkin River in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, the river tumbles peacefully by. The river water has made a long journey: it originated as rainfall deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. It flows through the Uwharrie, Sumter, and Francis Marion National Forests. It travels through Winston-Salem, Charlotte, and Charleston…  More 

Research Sustains Ecosystem Services

From clean drinking water to sustainably harvested forest products and the region’s outdoor tourism industry, nature provides abundant benefits to people in the southern Appalachians. Benefits also include biodiversity, the sense of place found in forested landscapes, and much more. Ecological assessment is a key tool for understanding the role of private and public lands…  More 

Promoting Ecosystem Services with State Property Tax Programs

Every state in the U.S. offers tax breaks to forest landowners. But the details vary significantly – which makes it hard for policymakers to compare the programs, as a team of researchers from the USDA Forest Service and the University of Minnesota has shown. “State property tax programs incentivize ecosystem services,” says Forest Service scientist…  More 

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 

Invasive Plants Follow Land Abandonment after Hurricane Katrina

The lot is overgrown, crowded with unruly shrubs, vines, and waist-high weeds. It is littered with old tires and garbage and is now home to a rusted Toyota Tercel. The air is heavy and buzzing with mosquitoes. This is the Lower 9th Ward, where U.S. Forest Service research forester Wayne Zipperer studied the vegetation on…  More 

Sabbaticals Bring Exciting Innovations to Forest Research

Three U.S. Forest Service scientists will be expanding on current research — or focusing on new or emerging research — as recipients of the SRS sabbatical program. The sabbaticals will give these researchers the opportunity to collaborate with researchers from around the world. “The sabbatical will afford each of the scientists an opportunity to be…  More 

Managing Forests for Water: Challenges in the Anthropocene

Humans are enmeshed in an ancient and intricate relationship between forests and water, and as the impacts of climate change are felt across the globe, the relationship will become increasingly important. A special issue of the journal Forests, titled Forest Management and Water Resources in the Anthropocene, examines the interactions between forests, water, climate change,…  More 

Science Partners Launch “Ecosystem Benefits and Risks” Website

The Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) and the U.S. Forest Service are releasing products from the first phase of an ongoing study assessing benefits of and risks to the region’s “ecosystem services” — natural assets valued by people, such as clean drinking water, outdoor recreation, forest products, and biological conservation. A wealth of data, maps, and…  More 

Austin’s Urban Forest

In late February, the U.S. Forest Service published its first urban forest assessment for Austin, Texas. Using Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data, Austin’s Urban Forest 2014 provides details on the composition and health of the city’s urban forest and the benefits it provides. According to the report, Austin’s trees provide almost $34…  More