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Summarized Comments and Author Responses: SOCIO-4

Comment no. 36:

Socio-4 section 5.5.3 states government cost-share incentives programs are "generally regarded as equitable to everyone, with program costs to taxpayers offset by reductions in prices of forest-related goods…" This statement is very general, and does not include any real facts. Where is the analysis of all subsidies, tax breaks, incentives, and/or abatements given to the wood products industry in the south? -- Draft Report

Response by Gerald Wicker:

I agree. The quoted statement in this comment reflects what I learned from reading the work of another. It was not based on any science-based study of "everyone." I have therefore changed the final text, eliminating the thought that program costs are "generally regarded as equitable to everyone." In addition, I personally know of no comprehensive analysis of all landowner subsidies,tax breaks etc. that could have been referred to in the report. -- Final Report


Comment no. 35:

"As a matter of both good business sense and environmental concerns, many private industry owners in the south are strong proponents of practices that ensure sustainability of multiple resource values." This sentence appears to be a form of rhetoric, rather than a truly scientific statement. What is the evidence for this? who has defined sustainability for the purposes of this study? What are the multiple resource values? -- Draft Report

Response by Gerald Wicker:

It was based only on personal experience over the past 25+ years working here in the South , so it will be removed from the text. I believe the statement to be accurate and truthful; but it is correct that it is not backed by hard scientific evidence. Given the nature of the original comment, regarding the need for definitions of various terms used, etc., I hope I have a good understanding the author's intent. -- Final Report


Comment no. 35:

The study places excessive emphasis on government subsidies role in the productive state of the southern forest. At best, according to numbers in the report, only 1.5% of landowners are even participating in any type of direct government subsidies. That means 98.5% of landowners are responding to market signals and other management objectives. -- Draft Report

Response by Gerald Wicker:

I agree. Only a small percentage of owners seem to be participating in government cost-share programs, which have been around for many decades. We can only guess why the other great percentage does what it does (or doesn't do). For some reason, there have been quite a few studies focused on such programs (with very few studies focused on apparent results of other government forestry programs), which is why they received such attention in the report. We just don't have much scientific information available regarding the positive or negative influences that non-cost-share incentives programs have had on actual landowner "management activity." In fact, since doing nothing is a form of management, some government programs may have even influenced owners to do just that - - nothing. -- Final Report


Comment no. 34:

The report states that 12% of southern forest is permanently set aside by landowners who intend to never harvest timber on their land. This figure significantly understates the amount of land that is set aside as many landowners who do harvest timber also set aside portions of tracts that will never be harvested. -- Draft Report

Response by Gerald Wicker:

This may very well be true; but I am not aware of any published literature that provides information supporting this belief. It would have been nice to have for the report. -- Final Report


Comment no. 5:

Section 5.5: This section, though recognizing that knowledge of management options can influence the nature of private forest management, inadequately addresses the role professional foresters can play in providing that knowledge or in ensuring that landowner objectives are met. -- Draft Report

Response by Gerald Wicker:

Having played that role as a "forester" in past years, I can only agree; but I was unable to find published scientific literature with findings defining the measurable extent/level of influence of foresters' efforts on actual landowner management activity in any particular area of the South. -- Final Report


Comment no. 1:

There are two citations for: USDA Forest Service 2001. The second of these claims to be published in "Broonall, PA" but this is more likely to be "Broomall, PA". Please correct. -- Draft Report

Response by Gerald Wicker:

The suggested correction has been made in the final text. -- Final Report

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created: 4-OCT-2002
modified: 08-Dec-2013