Influence and effectiveness of financial incentive programs in promoting sustainable forestry in the south
State forestry officials responsible for forestry incentive programs in each of the 13 southern states were surveyed concerning their opinions on financial incentive
programs available to nonindustrial private forest owners. The forestry officials were asked to name and describe the public and private programs available
in their state, to assess forest owners’ awareness of each program, its appeal among the owners aware of it, its effectiveness in encouraging sustainable forestry
and enabling owners to meet their objectives, and the percent of program practices that remain in place and enrolled acres that remain in forest over time.
They also were asked to suggest ways to improve the programs. The Forest Stewardship, Forest Land Enhancement, and Forest Legacy Programs were among
the top rated federal programs. Programs sponsored by states and private organizations tended to be more narrowly targeted than federal programs and scored
well for specific attributes. The forestry officials’ suggestions for program improvement centered largely on improving program visibility and availability,
increasing and ensuring long-term consistency in program funding, and simplifying the application and approval process.