Western North Carolina report card on forest sustainability
Western North Carolina encompasses 4.8 million acres of highly valued temperate forests. To help address future management and conservation decisions surrounding these resources, the report card evaluates environmental, social, and economic conditions in recent decades across an 18 county area. The report card describes the status of indicators of forest sustainability as improving, worsening, uncertain, stable, stable/at risk, or dynamic. Results varied considerably among criteria measured. Conditions that show improvement include lands managed for conservation; timber volume, growth, and removals; water and air quality; forest economics; cultural/spiritual values; resource planning and monitoring; and public participation in policy formation. Conditions that are worsening include loss of natural communities and species, rate of land conversion, rate of forest fragmentation, spread of invasive species, developed recreation resources, and soil movement associated with development on steep slopes.