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Comments Recieved at Asheville

image: trio of young dogwood leaves

The table below captures the comments collected during the breakout session at the Asheville public meeting. Comments are grouped by major forces of change. Specific subregions of applicability are listed where provided.

  Comments Subregion
Social/Economic
  Consider increased population-land conversion AC
Consider increased cost of living—less traditional users AC
Evaluate changing cultures—different resource values AC
Consider less affordable housing—wealthy new residents AC
Consider more part-time residents—more homes AC
Consider that there is more pressure on public lands for greater uses AC
There is less access to public forests—adjacent private lands are closed AC
Consider increased user conflicts AC
There is less public knowledge of land stewardship AC
Consider increased costs for using private lands—hunting AC
Biofuels/energy needs will affect forests AC
More conservation easements—less industrial base AC
Consider competition for energy/water. Atlanta basin transfer. Hydropower pressures. Greater sub-regional coordination AC
Evaluate competition from global forest industries AC
Changing ethnicity/age groups = changing recreation preferences AC
Consider changing climate and recreation industries (less snow/ more year-round activities) AC
Consider sub-prime mortgage—less wood demand in short-term AC
Consider different housing systems on horizon—green building, new technologies AC
Evaluate impacts to viewshed from adjacent developments AC
Consider forest certification – better use of forests AC
Consider during economic downturn—folks seek out less costly recreation, more public land use AC
Assess demographics—fewer kids in the woods – less future public interest in public lands? AC
Consider fear of increasing crime—lack of law enforcement on public lands AC
Assess growing organic trends—improves air/water quality AC
Consider increased development adjacent to public lands AC
Wind energy has implications for forests AC
Consider more political influence in the region concentrated in urban counties. Less knowledge/concern about wildland issues AC
Consider generational shift—tax consequences limit the ability of older farmers to pass lands within the family AC
Consider changing zoning options—tool for local governments to preserve open space AC
Logging workforce is aging and equipment is expensive - who will replace them? AC
Consider high fuel costs are impacting local logging economy AC
Renewable energy vs. biomass energy – how to balance? AC
Devaluation of the dollar may make local industries more competitive AC
Consider the trade deficit—US not competing due to some unfair consequences AC
If biofuels take off, consequences of another “timber rush” – would have major environmental/economic impacts to the established timber industry AC
Value of some plants will lead to species loss—need to manage more actively AC
Immigrants collecting forest products – there's a lack of resource knowledge; language issues hinder communication AC
Fewer private lands open for a variety of uses, including recreation and economic uses AC
More affluent older population locks up adjacent land – limits access to public lands AC
Consider emerging job training—need a “green collar” job initiative AC
Institutional
  The NC tax code penalizes people and forest management planning; there is no break for wildlife or conservation or other values AC
A bill about post-fire restoration passed the U.S. House that could affect the Southeast AC
A Federal level policy for biomass markets is being developed/supported; Ecosystem markets (e.g.. Carbon credits) are another driver for restoration AC
Consider emerging commodity values; tax liabilities AC
How do we quantify values for recreation, conservation? AC
Forest legacy program is not being well funded AC
How will TIMOs/REITs affect timber supply/ future of forestlands? AC
Evaluate changes in economics: what's the highest dollar value for land? AC
Preoccupation with fire suppression and prescribed fire management is taking away from other resource programs both at State and Federal levels AC
State policies related to inter-basin transfers of water affects many resources AC
Tax distribution—previously 25% of timber sales and other program dollars went to rural schools. Can FS send money from other program revenues? Need dedicated sources of funding (fee-demo program rules preclude this) AC
Stewardship program fund distribution designed to share value AC
Local land use policies encourage fragmentation; hand-in-hand with population growth. Higher density preferable. Flipside-people living in higher density areas are more removed from land, and their concentration gives them more power. Lack of local land use planning encourages fragmentation AC
Regarding fire suppression, some state agencies are dominated by hard-suppression (dozers) rather than soft suppression (natural barriers)
There is a more judicious use of natural barriers because of a fear of what might burn
AC
Government needs to find some way to fund fire suppression outside the regular FS funds; fire funding is eating away at the FS funds for other programs AC
Inability to fight fires in the interface also creates an untenable situation for potential fire suppression; should harvest the interface to prevent fire ignition AC
Biomass scenario a concern: When you cut trees grown for biomass, you harvest everything, so you may jeopardize the health of the site. Potential damage to the forest is an issue. Also, subsidizing biomass might negatively affect the timber market AC
We don't have enough incentive programs to protect agricultural and forest lands. Need more state funding mechanisms (incentive programs) to keep working forests and farms. NC has the Clean Water Trust Fund AC
Educational programs: need greater education for those moving into the Appalachians AC
Need free-market base, state taxes, inheritance taxes—better incentives AC
FS manages 46% of the softwood in US but cuts 2%. Is that sustainable? AC
Need education about harvests. Everyone wants an undisturbed viewshed. We need to share facts and transmit messages to encourage conservation and use AC
Changing electorate in NC—51% in 14 counties—we are an urban-voting state disconnected from rural values and solutions AC
More than timber is being harvested; there is no national or regional economic policy for non-timber products –native plants AC
Impacted by top-down decisions rather than local ones; this negatively affects national forests in this area AC
We need to examine trade policies to level the field for all forest products AC
Southern Appalachian forests are the main source for many medicinal plants. There is no structure for management of the multi-million dollar industry on state, federal, or private lands AC
Regulations are unreasonable (e.g., buffers); not based on science but emotions AC
Need more participation by insurance industry to make it more expensive to build in forested areas (because of fire risk) AC
How do we get government to pay attention to land loss/ fragmentation? AC
How will tax structure reflect value of forests? We do not have an effective lobby. How do we get Congress interested? AC
No net loss of wetlands policy not mirrored with forests AC
One third of Southern Blue Ridge is public; Cumberland Plateau has no/little public land. What's the status? A coalition is working on it. AC
NC is progressive in putting aside funds for land acquisition/working farms AC
Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) funds are not being allocated. This fund could benefit southern forests AC
Local county ordinances affect landowners greatly. Can influence sales of land for development. AC
Carbon markets could make a big difference, if those valuations are developed. AC
If owners have value placed on standing timber, they would be more likely to keep land in forests AC
Farm Bill has great implications; difficult for forestry interest to be represented adequately AC
Sagging stock market affects TIMOS AC
Land Uses/Forest Management
  Consider global trade-- it is a major question for these forces—relates to the infrastructure AC
Land development is a big factor for this region; it will influence all values and functions AC
Land conversion is also a big factor, as well as more houses are interspersed into the wildlands AC
Development will have influence on forest management. It will stop forest management in many instances AC
Development brings people into the area who have less knowledge about the native forests AC
Development also affects the political environment. This is true especially in this subregion, given the large amount of Federal ownership AC
What will influence National Forests more, Washington, D.C. or local management decisions? AC
Fire protection is a big issue with the population growth, especially as it is interspersed into the wildland. State resources are limited. Burning ban is evidence of scarce resources AC
Consider changing pattern of owners—more owners, less acreage per owner, fewer options for forest management. This changing pattern influences access to timber AC
Fragmentation affects animal corridors. Fragmentation with climate change makes these corridors more critical. AC
How can bioenergy be forecasted? It is a complex situation when looking out 50 years AC
Assess the food situation (increasing corn ethanol use will increase price of corn and other foods) and will increase use of cellulosic bioenergy (wood) AC
Transportation costs will be a key factor in forecasting bioenergy use and development AC
Bioenergy use could drive the price of wood up for traditional uses of wood; but this would help landowners AC
How much longer will global markets hold up for hardwood lumber? AC
Non-economic values of forests are important; these values include hunting, wilderness, passive recreation AC
There is a concern about the future of timber markets; we have lost high-quality hardwood markets. With this loss of markets, what are the implications for funding forest management activities for wildlife (on National Forests or other ownerships)? AC
Move away from just timber management to management for other products; medicinal plants have great value, but forests have not been managed for them AC
Some of the most valuable plant products come from this region; we need sustainability of harvest and propagation. These markets are valuable and substantial. There are different market structures for wild-grown plants. AC
To alleviate land development issues, we need research to properly value ecosystem services. These are valuable services. We need to properly recognize them as a valuable commodity AC
Concern about human resources available to protect these natural resources. Funding is also an issue. We need to protect what we have left AC
There is little or no timber management anymore; demand for timber hasn't gone down but there is less management. Landowners won't pay consultants to manage land (just to sell timber). AC
Climate change could change everything related to forest management. Consider increased drought, fire, insects, disease, etc. AC
With increasing focus on biomass for energy, how far can biomass utilization increase? would nutrients be affected? AC
As population and fragmentation increases, forest management becomes harder, more expensive. This includes management for timber, wildlife, recreation, etc. AC
Prescribed fire is harder to utilize AC
The potential for conservation easements may provide good alternatives AC
Market for carbon credits could influence landowner decisions. This would especially be true if carbon credits could be earned through forest management activities AC
Divesting timber markets overseas (using foreign markets to supply the U.S.) could have effects that need to be accounted for AC
Certification schemes should encourage domestic products AC
Forest certification could become major issue AC
View sheds are a valuable non-timber value. Some states have higher taxes for high view shed values AC
Forest Products Lab is not doing research on why we lost certain products, and how we can continue timber economy AC
Technology in papermills is lagging; they are doing the same thing for 50 years AC
Pine plantations—what is their status? AC
Bioenergy could provide major impetus for pine plantations; this is a major question. AC
Energy plantations could be substantially different than traditional forest plantations AC
Why are private landowners planting less today than previously? AC
How are the endangered forest communities (identified in the SFRA) doing? Are new ones being added? AC
What would a universal definition of sustainability be? Sustainability can go in many different directions AC
What are the trends for forested wetlands, by region? What does the future hold? AC
We need more education and discussion (like these meetings) to increase understanding of these issues AC
No other species competes with Southern pine strength and ability to be treated with preservatives; we need to recognize and use these competitive strengths. AC
Biological/Physical
  Consider WUI makes it more expensive to fight fires AC
Consider wildfire suppression increases catastrophic fires and their cost AC
Consider that sulfur deposition is hurting tree growth now and will likely increase AC
Consider climate change leads to drought which reduces resistance to pests such as hemlock woolly adelgid AC
Evaluate a variety of climate trajectories; S. Apps may be one of the few areas that might see increased rainfall AC
Consider that fragmentation makes it harder for species to migrate in response to changing climate, and this fragmentation is both from natural and land use causes AC
Consider impacts of development of steep slopes -- causes erosion, degrades streams down slope AC
Consider climate change. Diverse forests of the Appalachian-Cumberland ecoregion makes it harder to know enough to manage them for the long term in the face of climate change AC
Consider change in forest structure AC
Consider worst case scenarios of invasives, such as sudden oak death killing all southern red oaks AC
Is hemlock woolly adelgid changing riparian zones, stream temperature, and what lives in them? AC
Invasive species are a problem here, changing habitats for native species, expected to get worse, may require more funds for eradication, staff, collaboration with local groups AC
Oriental bittersweet is a problem here AC
Interagency (local) coordination is important to address invasives AC
A regional approach to invasives is needed, one that's integrated across states, or it won't work (e.g.. Hemlock woolly adelgid) AC
Consider that genetically modified trees may affect forest health AC
Consider that genetically modified crops may create new pests to forests AC
Consider genetic health issues AC
How do we respond to the variability that climate change brings, such as large hurricanes, floods, other large disturbance events? AC
Evaluate change in land ownership. This means fewer large tracts, more introduction of 5 acre mini-farms, urbanization, all blends together AC
Evaluate run-off pollution from impervious surfaces brought on by urbanization AC
Consider that increased pesticide and fertilizer use also goes along with urbanization AC
Assess bad tree pruning in the urban environment, this affects temperatures in our cities AC
As population increases, people's values shift and the function of wildlife management then has to shift inappropriately (such as deer management, feral cats) AC
GMO issues of concern include trees developed for lower lignin and the development of trees not native to the South, like eucalyptus AC
Forests on the landscape overall are going to get older, this impacts everything AC
Many of our hardwood forests are of a similar age. Evaluate problems with senescence AC
Evaluate impacts of climate change on fire regimes, flooding, complications with managing forested wetlands AC
Wetland conversions complicate management of increased flooding due to climate change and increased precipitation AC
Evaluate the reintroduction of the (disease free) chestnut, how does that change the forest? AC
Over time, these forests are going to get older, start dying off, what are we going to go about that on both private and public lands? AC
Not all the landscape can be old growth, it's not sustainable, so how do you maintain that portion on the landscape over time? AC
Hemlock may be a good example of the pressure between management and nonmanagement – we can protect some of the trees, what do we do when they die from hemlock woolly adelgid? AC
Gypsy moth, balsam woolly adelgid, hemlock woolly adelgid, nobody saw these coming—in 50 years what is going to happen biologically, we need to do this better AC
Use existing models of landscape change and fragmentation, threshold effects for area-dependent species, these are things that can be forecast AC
Consider the loss of the oak component. It is a factor that is not recognized enough AC
Evaluate herbivory by deer, it has a huge influence on biodiversity, evaluate other components of diversity AC
Tracking forest succession across the landscape helps with tracking wildlife habitats and forest health in response to these different drivers AC
Consider that the quality of forest successional habitats is also important AC
Consider possible development of additional reservoirs for drinking water, hydropower, related stream modification, driven by drought, increasing demand for energy and drinking water AC
Fragmentation is speeding up the success of invasives, people like to plant ornamentals AC
Partners in Flight is a useful resource, also Forests on the Edge report from the FS AC
High elevation forests are a valuable resources, and populations of their bird species are being reduced due to climate change AC
Utilize State wildlife diversity plans AC