Social and Political Impact of the Southern Pine BeetleThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Impact is defined broadly to mean any effect on the forest environment resulting from the activities of the southern pine beetle (SPB). In this chapter we focus on social and political impact. Social impact deals with effects of the SPB on aesthetic, moral, and metaphysical values associated with forests. Two aspects of social impact are investigated: how the SPB affects recreational use of the forest environment, and how the insect affects the human habitat; i.e., the urban/ suburban environment. Political impact deals with the effects of the SPB on the forest environment that result in actions, practices, and policies of local, State, or Federal governmental agencies. The mechanism of political impact is the corpus of laws and regulations that have evolved to provide for protection, conservation, and use of public and private forests. Four important acts relating directly or indirectly to SPB political impact are examined: the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Wilderness Act, and the Healthy Forest Restoration Act (HFRA). We conclude with an examination of how corporate taxation laws have affected forest land ownership in the South and the likely consequence on SPB outbreaks in the future.