Survey and Analysis of Local Forestry-Related Ordinances in the Northeast, Mid-West, and Western United States

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Virginia Tech

In the United States, federal, state, and local forest policies affect many aspects of the forest industry. Regulations from all levels dictate how resource professionals manage the forest resources of the country. This study examines state and local regulatory relationships with a primary focus on local regulations in the Northeast, Mid-West, and western regions of the United States.

A total of 388 local forestry ordinances were identified among the 35 states of the Northeast, Mid-West, and western regions of the United States. The Northeast contains the majority of local forest ordinances with 351. These ordinances are distributed among 8 states and many small local government types. The Mid-West currently embraces fewer local forest regulations with 16 ordinances across 4 states. In the West, 21 local forestry ordinances were found of which most are fostered by comprehensive forest practice acts. The primary objective of most local regulations in all regions is to regulate timber harvesting to some degree. The scope of the remaining local regulations; however, varied by region.

The presence of local regulations has existed for over 30 years, and there are indications that they will have an even greater impact on forest management in the future. In addition, local regulations are steadily becoming more comprehensive in scope, which makes it difficult to determine their impacts. The cumulative impact of local regulation rests not only in the number of ordinances, but also in the area they govern, stringency of provisions, local resource conditions, and degree of enforcement.

timber harvesting, local ordinance, local regulation, tree protection, forest policy, environmental protection, forestry, public safety, special feature