The Future of Forest Management on NIPF Lands in the South: Results of an Expert Opinion Survey
A survey was sent to each state forester in the 13 states in the Southeast and South Central Regions to ask their opinions regarding the future of forest management on NIPF lands in their state. The results indicate that changes are in store for NIPF lands between now and 2020. Planted pine is projected to increase 7% in area in the South, largely at the expense of natural pine, which is projected to decrease in area by 6%. The amount of land in the other forest types will remain relatively constant, although there will be significant shifts among forest types during the period. Management intensity is projected to increase dramatically, with more intensive practices being applied to all five forest management types -- even to upland hardwood stands (a 5% increase) -- with planted pine showing the greatest shift with a 22% increase to very high intensity management region-wide. A gradual reduction in the amount of land available for management is predicted to occur, with losses of 1% in the planted pines to an 11% decrease in bottomland hardwoods. Clearcutting is projected to decrease in the Southeast by 10% in pine plantations and 42% on upland hardwood sites. It is projected to increase slightly in the South Central by 1% to 3% for all five forest management types. Factors most likely to limit increases in productivity are tied to population growth and changes in owner objectives.