assessment of sustainability of our forests

Southern Forest Resource Assessment

led by the USDA Forest Service's Southern Region and Southern Research Station in collaboration with the USEPA, US Fish & Wildlife, TVA, and state forestry agencies of the Southern United States

II. Social/Economic Factors

The Southern Forest Resource Assessment will address a set of questions regarding the sustainability of the South’s forests.  This page contains a list of questions that are now proposed to organize the analysis in the Social/Economic Factors category. These questions address broad issues so to provide additional detail, we include specific points that will be addressed as each question is answered. At the end of the page are links to the other broad categories.

To the left of each question is a "what you said" link taking you to the public inputs submitted about the earlier version of that question.


Comments about the earlier version of this question

1. How have land uses changed in the South and how might changes in the future affect the area of forests?

  • Evaluate the influence of various driving factors behind land use change including population growth, urban sprawl, and markets for various goods and services produced from land.
  • Definitions of forestland need to be evaluated to address different capabilities of lands.  This is especially important with regard to the continuum of forest conditions between suburban areas and remote forests.
  • Analysis should address not only the amount of forestland but also its spatial arrangement.  Most notably, examine the fragmentation of forests.
  • Evaluate how forest policies could influence forests and land use.
  • Address linkages between the answer to this question and the impacts on terrestrial ecosystems.
Comments about the earlier version of this question

2. What is the demographic profile and attitudes of southern citizens toward forests and their management and how have they changed?

  • Distinguish between public attitudes toward private and public forests.
  • Address differences in attitudes between various segments of the population.  Especially important are the differences between urban and rural citizens.  Also evaluate the effects of:  (1) intergenerational differences, (2) residency and length of residency, (3) landowners versus non-landowners,  and (4) different regions within the South.
  • Evaluate general differences in the attitudes toward environmental protection and private property rights.
Comments about the earlier version of this question

3. How do current policies, regulations, and laws affect forest resources and their management?

  • Examine the implications of tax code (income, estate, and property) on the structure and management of forests.  Especially important is the influence of inheritance taxes on fragmentation of forests.
  • Examine the impacts of programs that are designed to encourage forest management and forest cover.  These include cost-share programs for aforestation and reforestation and private-sector programs for forest management.
  • Examine incentives and disincentives to keeping land in forest cover.
  • Examine the full breadth of policies, regulations, and laws that influence forests.  This includes, local and state regulations, zoning, agricultural regulations, and environmental regulations, in addition to specific forest policies.
Comments about the earlier version of this question

4. What motivates private forest landowners to manage their forestland and how are their management objectives formed?

  • Look at how landowners might respond to different incentives regarding the management and use of their land.
  • Examine the differences in motivation/management between landowner groups (public, large industry, nonindustrial private).
  • Address the role of education and access to information on the management behavior of private landowners.
  • Describe landowner perspectives on the use of their forests for recreation and other uses.
Comments about the earlier version of this question

5. What role do forests play in employment and local economies in the South?

  • Include all sectors of the economy related to forests when answering this question (e.g., timber products and recreation and tourism).
  • Define sub-regions for economic analysis so that they correspond with fine scale economies.
  • Examine the history of change in economies and the relative contributions of different forest-based sectors.
  • Address the effects of forests and forest uses on the quality of life in sub-regions.
Comments about the earlier version of this question

6. What are the supplies of and demands for forest based recreation and other uses of forests in the South?

  • Evaluate the relationships between forest management and forest types and recreation opportunities (e.g., does certain kinds of forest management complement recreation supplies?)
  • Evaluate opportunities for developing new sources of recreation supply.
  • Evaluate the potential for conflicts between different forms of recreations.
  • Address the roles of different landowner groups in providing recreation.

Other Broad Categories:
I. Landscapes/Terrestrial Ecosystems
III. Timber Markets and Forest Management
IV. Forest Extent, Conditions, and Health
V. Watersheds, Aquatic/Riparian Ecosystems, and Forested Wetlands
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modified: 17-APR-2000
webmaster: John M. Pye