skip banner Southern Forest Resource Assessment    Draft Report: Comments


Search this site:

 

Home > Draft Report > Comments   

Previous PageNext Page

Summarized Comments and Author Responses: SOCIO-5

Comment no. 50:

Statement "Because forestland is owned by middle and upper income housefholds, revenue from uses will go to these households." According to Socio-4, Key Findings, less than 1% of owners holding tracts larger than 500 acres controlled 65% of the timberland intended for harvest. Tracts over 500 acres alone represented nearly half the total private timberland acreage. what percentage of these are households and what percentage are large corporations? This is critical to determining whether benefits accrue to housefholds or to distant stockholders. -- Draft Report

Response by Karen Abt:

Households are primary stockholders, so it is not possible to distinguish between income sources for households. The models do not include income to 'distant' persons/individuals/corporations. -- Final Report


Comment no. 49:

Section 5.5 states: "Berck and others (1992) found that problems in rural communities resulted more from remote locations and subsequent transportation costs than from specific forest products industries. Perhaps in 1992, transportation costs were an issue. However, post-NAFTA, transportation costs have become a less important input to a firm's costs. Problems in rural communities often result from lack of infrastructure and other necessary public amenities due to lack of civic engagement of the forest products industries. Added statement noting that other attributes affect community well being. -- Draft Report

Response by Karen Abt:

Households are primary stockholders, so it is not possible to distinguish between income sources for households. The models do not include income to 'distant' persons/individuals/corporations. -- Final Report


Comment no. 48:

Section 5.5 reads: "Rural communities are worse off generally than more urban communities." What does this mean? When comparing what? In terms of amenities, they may, in fact, be better off. This is, if clean air and clean water are valued. This statement appears to be a subjective one rather than a scientific one. -- Draft Report

Response by Karen Abt:

Added citations, and noted in which areas rural are considered worse off. -- Final Report


Comment no. 47:

Section 5.4.3 on "disparity between the average annual incomes from the two sectors (Table 16)." Opportunity for further synthesis of ideas. While a relatively few jobs in the paper and pulp sector pay salaries in the $50,000s, these jobs are relatively rare. Please describe how many jobs are available in this upper income bracket, and how many are actually subsistence level wages. -- Draft Report

Response by Karen Abt:

We do not have data on relative rarity or prevalence of 'high paying' vs subsistence wages at an industry level. We added a disclaimer to the effect that these are averages, and provide no information about the distribution of actual wage rates. -- Final Report


Comment no. 46:

Section 5.3.2 statement: "…determining how changes in national forest harvest levels might influence local economic structure and well-being." The national forests are public lands, owned by all taxpayers. In future analyses, particular attention should be paid to these stakeholders who are further away from the source, and the values they place on standing forests, clean water, etc. -- Draft Report

Response by Karen Abt:

Statement was removed. -- Final Report


Comment no. 45:

The statement "Figure 2 shows the average annual rate of job growth for the 10 major economic sectors in the south and the US between 1969 and 1998…These changes reflect a continuing shift away from agriculture to manufacturing and service sectors in the southern economy." Further synthesis of ideas is needed. Please mention and explain in the text the great disparity between the minimal increases in manufacturing (including wood products), agriculture and mining, versus the large increases in FIRE, services, and others. -- Draft Report

Response by Karen Abt:

Added statements regarding large growth in service and retail. -- Final Report


Comment no. 44:

Section 5.43 states "The substitution of one site for another in both recreation and wood products will lead to geographic shifts..but may or may not represent an economic loss." This would assume that one recreation area is a perfect substitute for another, and that there is not a strong sense of place for recreationists. This is absolutely false. For example, try to explain to the millions of visitors to the Grand Canyon that they can simply shift their visitation over to another, similar canyon in a neighboring state. This would represent a great economic loss, both directly and indirectly. -- Draft Report

Response by Karen Abt:

Noted that subsitution may not be possible for some sites, and the loss of that site would result in a loss of welfare. This may or may not result in a loss of expenditures. -- Final Report


Comment no. 43:

IMPLAN uses expenditures that are taken from the USFS TSPIRS system. In September 2001, GAO published a report that found "…serious accounting and financial reporting deficiencies….that precluded us from making an accurate determination of the total federal costs associated with the timber sales program..". Because the entire analysis in section 5.3.2. is based upon unreliable cost accounting data, this section is a serious error. -- Draft Report

Response by Karen Abt:

Data from TSPIRS were not included or mentioned in any modeling. NFS expenditures are taken from the National Finance Center, not from TSPIRS. NFC data is based on actual expenditures made by forests and attributed to timber, and does not include any land value calculations, or road credits, or timber income to the forest. -- Final Report


Comment no. 42:

Section 5.2.1 states "Some areas are still highly dependent on a single industry….The rural areas are still part of the "old economy" based on manufacturing and resource extraction." This is an error. Increasingly, rural areas in the south are based on retiree income and service sectors. Before you make a blanket statement like this, please include the names of towns in rural areas that are supposedly part of this old economy, figures that support this claim, and other factual information. Also, in Section 5.3.1, "The percentages of all southern jobs and income coming from wood products are declining. This decline does not necessarily imply that the industry is declining in importance." This statement makes no sense, and is therefore an error. It is not a scientific statement but rather a political statement. -- Draft Report

Response by Karen Abt:

The statement is from a publication, Gale and McGranahan, and cannot be changed. Expanded the discussion of increasing service and retail sectors in rural areas. Noted that retirement incomes and expenditures are included in the modeling. Deleted the 'importance' statement, noted that output is rising even as labor use is falling. -- Final Report


Comment no. 41:

Key Findings state "In 1997, the USFS contributed more than $330 million to the southern economy …" According to the Thoreau Institute, Region 8 lost $48 million in timber sales in 1997. -- Draft Report

Response by Karen Abt:

"Contributions to the economy" are not equivalent to revenue from timber sales. Contributions include wages and salaries to federal workers, supplies and equipment purchased. -- Final Report


Comment no. 39:

We also understand that IMPLAN assumes infinite supplies (of timber, for example), available at current prices. This is an unacceptable assumption, considering the scarcity of certain forest amenities. IMPLAN would assume a shift in demand for furniture would mean more trees would be cut, and the lumber industry would increase production; it does not imply that there is a limit to the amount of lumber that can be cut to meet demand. We are also suspect of the use of value-added to determine contributions of certain industries to GSP, as stated in the Forest Products Journal report. -- Draft Report

Response by Karen Abt:

Because we modeled only 1997, we only needed to assume that timber supplies met timber demand at then-current prices. We did not predict future changes in technology, prices of inputs or outputs, or changes in demand or supply. GSP and value added are used as defined by the Dept. of Commerce. We noted that these values represent only market transactions, and do not include asset effects nor non-market effects. -- Final Report


Comment no. 38:

Errors: We do not share the team's enthusiasm of the IMPLAN model. IMPLAN has numerous flaws that render its conclusions erroneous. We feel the entire method in this section is inherently in error and that finer details and analysis are necessary. IMPLAN makes the erroneous assumption that forest-based jobs are primary jobs. All other jobs in the state are secondary or exist to support the primary workers. IMPLAN also assumes that income earned in export-oriented activities circulates through the local economy, putting people to work in locally oriented economic activities that provide the vast majority of jobs. Fluctuations in export income cause fluctuations in nonexport sectors in a relationship summarized by a more or less constant multiplier.The alternative interpretation would say that such local economic activity absorbs and holds dollars longer in the local economy, increasing jobs and income. In fact, it is the strength and diversity of local sectors that determine the size of the multiplier. -- Draft Report

Response by Karen Abt:

Most of the flaws and errors noted by the comment either (1) incorrectly confuse IMPLAN with economic base models, or, (2) apply to IMPLAN when used for predictions. IMPLAN is not an economic base model, there is no assumption or mention of "primary" or "secondary". There is no distinction between "basic" or "non-basic" industries. IMPLAN uses economic base theory, which is that growth in an economy is export driven. We did not evaluate changes (growth) in this chapter. We did not use IMPLAN to assess impacts from possible future changes. IMPLAN does assume that the longer a dollar stays in a local economy, the more impact it has, and the multipliers are what IMPLAN creates. Alternatives to our use of this model were not suggested. -- Final Report


Comment no. 37:

Section 5.2.1: "Dependency…is often cited as a contributor to lower economic well being, but recent studies have found that southern rural communities with greater than 20% of employment in manufacturing are better off than counties with less than 20%" There needs to be additional fine detail following this sentence. Please include studies that point to the conclusion that southern rural counties with higher percentages of employment in wood products industries are worse off than counties with a lower percentage of employment in the wood products industry. (See comment letter for examples of studies.) -- Draft Report

Response by Karen Abt:

Added citations. -- Final Report


Comment no. 37:

The authors reference a study by Niemi and Whitelaw (N/W). This study is deeply flawed. Publication of an article (Schallau et al) criticizing the N/W methodologies is scheduled for publication in the March 2002 issue of Forest Products Journal. -- Draft Report

Response by Karen Abt:

Added the citation, and noted the controversy. -- Final Report


Comment no. 36:

The authors use simple percentages to identify counties with a high concentration of wood products jobs; by using components of a county's economic base instead, many more forest products dependent counties would result. -- Draft Report

Response by Karen Abt:

Economic base theory is controversial, and we reported impacts based on overall multipliers, not just percentages. The 'time-series' data are reported as percentages, but impacts were not calculated from this data. -- Final Report


Comment no. 4:

The forest products industry contributes significantly to outdoor recreation and this should be acknowledged. A broader discussion of public access programs, fishing, hunting leases. etc. available through state wildlife commissions, is also warranted. -- Draft Report

Response by Karen Abt:

This seems more relevant to Socio-6. We note expenditures for recreation from private land, but have no data regarding expenditures made for recreating on forest industry vs other private land. -- Final Report

Previous PageNext Page

 

webmaster: John M. Pye

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