Financial incentive programs' influence in promoting sustainable forestry in the northern region
Selected forestry officials in each of the 20 northern states were surveyed concerning their opinions on the public and private financial incentive programs available to nonindustrial private forest owners in their state. The officials were asked to name and describe the programs and to assess forest owners' awareness of each one, its appeal among the owners aware of it, its effectiveness in encouraging sustainable forestry and enabling owners to meet their objectives, and the percentage 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, scoring well for all measures and attributes. 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 program visibility and availability, increasing and ensuring long-term consistency in program funding, and simplifying the application and approval processes.