Southern Forest Futures Project
Technical Report Released
The Technical Report has been released as Southern Research Station General Technical Report 178.
The HTML version of the technical report is available here.
The science findings and modeling results could inform management and policy analysis of the South’s forests. In the chapters of this technical report, the authors provide detailed findings and results as well as sets of key findings and implications.
The Summary Report has been released as Southern Research Station General Technical Report 168. You can also view the “Summary Report Contents” in HTML form at the Forest Futures Summary Report Website with the associated menu selection.
Major Findings Unveiled
The U.S. Forest Service and Southern Group of State Foresters unveiled findings of the Southern Forest Futures Project on May 17, 2011.
The project is a multi-year research effort that forecasts changes in southern forests between 2010 and 2060.
The News Release is available here.
Project Leader Biographies
- David Wear, co-project lead, economist, Southern Research Station
- John Greis, co-project lead, forester, Southern Region
10 Key Findings
- The interaction of population growth, climate change, timber markets, and invasive species will define the South’s future forests.
- Urbanization is forecasted to result in forest losses, increased carbon emissions, and stress to other forest resources.
- Southern forests could sustain higher timber production levels, but demand is the limiting factor and demand growth is uncertain.
- A strong market for biomass energy could bring wood demands that are large enough to trigger changes in forest conditions, management, and markets.
- A combination of factors has the potential to decrease water availability and degrade quality; forest conservation and management can help mitigate these effects.
- Invasive species create a great but uncertain potential for ecological changes and economic losses.
- An extended fire season combined with obstacles to prescribed burning would increase wildland fire-related hazards.
- Private landowners continue to control the future of forests in the South, but ownership patterns could change and modify the future.
- Threats to species of conservation concern are widespread but are especially concentrated in the Coastal Plan and the Appalachian-Cumberland subregions.
- Increasing populations would increase demand for forest based recreation while the availability of land to meet these needs is forecasted to decline.
About the Southern Forest Futures Project
The Southern Forest Futures Project (SFFP) is a multi-year research effort that analyzes and forecasts probable changes in southern forests between 2010 and 2060. It builds from the Southern Forest Resource Assessment completed in 2002 and addresses a set of contemporary issues surrounding forests in the South.
Using computer modeling and cutting-edge scientific analysis, SFFP presents a range of plausible futures or scenarios of the South’s forests based on a variety of influences such as urbanization, bioenergy, climate change, land ownership changes, and invasive species. Forecasts provide a foundation for examining several broad “meta-issues” affecting southern forests, including fire, bioenergy, water supply, and wildlife.
The overall goal of SFFP is to inform land management strategies, policy discussions, and program decisions with the clearest understanding of the potential long-term implications of changes in forests of the 13 southern states.
The research project was chartered by the USDA Forest Service Southern Region, the Forest Service’s Southern Research Station, and the Southern Group of State Foresters.
SFFP will release findings in two phases:
Phase 1: Two reports that examine issues across the South:
- A 17-chapter technical report containing detailed findings;
- A summary report that provides a synthesis of the most critical findings