The forests of the Southern US are an invaluable resource. Forest stewardship in this region has been solid, but there is room for improvement. Forest product companies look to woodland owners to supply them with wood and fiber produced to the highest standards. In an ever-evolving market, adapting the best possible forest management practices gives landowners a competitive edge.
LOGGING AND HARVESTING TIMBER
A well-planned timber harvest will not only provide you with income but can keep your forest healthy and help create important wildlife habitat. The American Forest Foundation My Land Plan provides resources for woodland owners including how to sell timber, best practices, working with a forester, planning your harvest, and more.
FIND A CONSULTING FORESTER
An important step in the process of becoming a manager of your land is choosing a forester. A certified consulting forester will assist you in managing your woodlot and ensure you reach the goals and interests of your forest while practicing sustainable forestry. Discover the value of a consulting forester here.
Forest certification is awarded in recognition of responsibly managing your land. The Mississippi State University Extension Services has an excellent document for landowners to further understand the certification process and choose the best certification systems: Private Landowners’ Guide to Forest Certification in the South
Forest certification is important for local forest products industry who use the international seal of approval to put responsibly sourced timber into markets. It also helps ensure that our forests are regenerated, managed, and harvested in a sustainable system that protects biodiversity, soil, water, air, and other ecological and social benefits.
SMALLHOLDER ACCESS PROGRAM (SAP)
In recognition of the importance of forest certification, the AWA has developed a new approach to assist small landowners in getting their woodlands certified. This new approach is call the Smallholder Access Program (SAP).
The SAP is a novel approach that provides access to forest certification with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) that maintains the values, rigor, and confidence of traditional FSC claims. The US Southeast alone has about 52 million hectares of forests in family (private, non-industrial) ownership and about 75% of that forest is in ownerships less than 250 acres. The SAP is designed specifically for these very small private woodlands.
We have created a straightforward guide to help you think about the process of a successful timber harvest. This guide covers key elements of the SAP and how certification is possible through the program.
In addition, we have created a pamphlet of some basic concerns you may have as a landowner thinking about harvesting your timber. This pamphlet addresses those concerns by showing how the timber harvest process will affect your woodlands, income, and family legacy, and what you can do to assuage your concerns.
CONSERVATION EASEMENTS AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
Protect the land you love and get significant federal tax savings!
Conservation easements are voluntary agreements between landowners and land trusts or government agencies that limit land uses to protect conservation values while providing landowners with significant tax savings. Land Trust Alliance provides a downloadable brochure that summarizes easement tax incentives and provides answers for frequently asked questions.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to plan and implement conservation practices that improve all natural resources on your agricultural land or private forestland. Read more about EQIP and how it works in your state.
Wildlife conservation is an important element of caring for your land and ensuring that our Appalachian wildlife have essential habitat. Seeking out conservation programs and management resources promotes the high biodiversity that makes this region so special.
Find out how you can conserve habitat for wildlife species on your woodlands by exploring your state resources.
“This project will develop new tools to help...”
Today only a small percentage of landowners have a forest management plan, and even fewer are certified to one of the forest management certification systems available. We know that there are many more landowners who are responsible stewards of their woodlands, and this project will develop new tools to help tell that story of sustainable forest management to the marketplace.
— Roland Simon, VP of the Global Procurement Materials Group, Avery Dennison