The Consultant - 2007 - (Page 12)

FEATURE The New Generation of Private Forest Landowners: Brace for Change BY CATHERINE MATER, SENIOR FELLOW, PINCHOT INSTITUTE T HE UNITED STATES is about to witness the largest intergenerational transfer of family forest ownership in the nation’s history. Given the extent of private forests in the United States and their significance for conserving public values such as water quality and wildlife habitat, it will be important to develop a clearer understanding of the changing needs and interests of the next generation of owners. The Pinchot Institute and the USDA Forest Service recently completed a study of the next generation of private forest landowners in the United States. Results suggest that existing landowner assistance programs might need to be adapted to ensure good forest stewardship and minimize further losses of forest area through fragmentation and conversion to non-forestland uses. THE CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS OF FOREST LANDOWNERS Over the past decades, dozens of studies have been conducted by universities, natural resource agencies and the forest industry to better understand the interests and inclinations of the current generation of private forest landowners regarding the management of family forests. The stakes are high. Private forestlands, not including those owned by integrated forest products companies, account for nearly 50 percent of all the forestland in the United States, and nearly 60 percent of all productive timberland (Smith, et al 2004). These private forests play a critically important role in protecting water quality, conserving habitat for rare plant and animal species; offering opportunities for hunting, fishing and other forms of outdoor recreation; producing wood and other renewable forest products; and mitigating climate change by sequestering millions of tons of carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases” (Best and Wayburn, 2001). In many ways, private forests play an essential role in protecting important public conservation values. Thus, it is in the national public interest that we better understand the needs and motivations of private forest owners, to better craft programs and policies to assist forest landowners in managing their forests sustainably and maximize the chances that those forests will continue to provide important public conservation values in perpetuity. 12 THE CONSULTANT 2007

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Consultant - 2007

Executive Director’s Message Embracing Change
President’s Message Meeting the Challenge of the Fragmenting Forest
Forest Fragmentation
Parcelization: Different Owners, Different Practices
The New Generation of Private Forest Landowners: Brace for Change
Struggles Facing Wisconsin’s Professional Loggers
Saving Our Forests from a Fragmented Future
Selling the Business: Sequential Planning Versus Parallel Planning
A Survey of Consulting Forestry Education in Accredited Forestry Programs
Returning the American Chestnut to Our Forests
Woody Biomass for Energy – Has Its Time Come?
Meet the New ACF President
ACF Education Committee Looks to the Future
Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens Receives American Chestnut
Mississippi ACF/SAF Student Challenge
ACF National Conference Reflections
Harry Murphy: A Life in Consultation

The Consultant - 2007