Cultural, Management and Economic Research Needed To Assist the Non-Industrial Private Forest Landowner in the Southeastern U.S. - a Problem Analysis -


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Virginia Tech. Division of Forestry and Wildlife Resources


Much attention has been directed in recent years to finding ways of increasing the productivity of private non-industrial forest land ownerships in the South. Justification for the interest directed towards this ownership lies in its collective size, physical accessibility, potential for intensive management and the annual erosion of land base and growing stock of southern forests. Non-industrial private owners collectively are a most influential group, in position to shape the future posture of forestry and the quantity and quality of bbenefits to be obtained from forest lands. The manner in which these landowners husband their ownerships will determine progress made in arresting soil erosion, providing adequate supplies of potable water, maintaining a wildlife resource for consumptive and non-consumptive uses, continuing forest environments as a locale for recreational uses, and assuring a continuing supply of timber at reasonable costs for an expanding population. There is little doubt concerning the need to encourage greater production from these lands. By its sheer size, the non-industrial private ownership is the key to achieving gains in forest production. This ownership controls more than 70 percent of the forest land in the South. These owners must provide the major means of meeting projected increased needs in the goods and services derived from forest lands. As later paragraphs show, anticipated future needs surpass present productivity for southern pine. The productive potential exists tor the South to meet anticipated future needs, but to do so the non-industrial private ownerships must increase the amount of forest land supporting southern pines and must husband more intensively the southern pine forest. Non-industrial private landowners are a diverse group. They vary widely in their methods and reasons for acquiring forest properties, objectives of ownership, knowledge of forest management, financial capabilities and interests in enhancing the productive and financial values of their properties. Motivation is often lacking for them to enhance the value of their ownerships by increasing production. To define research priorities to assist these owners, a cooperative effort was initiated by the Southeastern Forest Experiment Station of the U.S. Forest Service, the Virginia Division of Forestry and the School of Forestry and Wildlife Resources at Virginia Tech. Some funding was provided by the Station and a Problem Analysis Team organized. This team met three times during 1981, planned the approach taken, reviewed and made suggestions on the sequence of manuscript revisions, and participated in the ranking of research priorities. Suggestions, preliminary manuscript review, and research priority ranking were solicited from a Technical Review Panel (See Appendix A). The resulting analysis presented here is a synthesis of the viewpoints of individuals representing governmental agencies, associations, wood-using industry, private landowners and forestry educators throughout the southern pine region. The prime objective is to assure an adequate supply lo southern pine to meet projected needs, while assuring non-industrial private landowners that investments in forest production are financially sound.