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Comments Recieved at Auburn

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

  Comment Subregion
Social/Economic
  Landownership patterns differ between coastal plain and Piedmont areas (larger areas in the coastal plain; smaller areas in the Piedmont) equating to different economic conditions. Management opportunities may be more limited in the Piedmont CP/P
Wildland Urban Interface-related issues: folks moving out of the city then don't understand the need for forest management, plus they want more recreation P
We are seeing “urbanization” expectations in rural settings among some landowners P
Land is increasingly becoming more “valuable' for development vs timber production P
There are increasing numbers of smaller parcels who do not understand forest management concepts. This increases fragmentation issues P
People are more recreation focused P
What will these smaller parcels look like in 20 years with no or minimal management? P
The dollar value of property is increasing P
Since people can't invest in more timberland, then they are more intensely managing what they have P
Using land as hunting preserves and adding to land ownership is about all that can be done with some lands. It is not economical to harvest P
We are seeing watersheds with poorer soils being sold for development—resulting in fewer forested acres and increased erosion P
Economically, land is being seen as having more value for recreation and development P
Stumpage prices are decreasing so folks can't afford to actively manage lands P
Increasing fragmentation P
Pulp markets are flooded with raw material. P
Death tax/heritage tax is causing folks who inherit property to sell the land instead of having to pay taxes on it P
Forest industry gets blamed for environmental problems (i.e. erosion) that often occur further upstream from development or road building P
Warmer weather is drawing more people to the South P
There is not enough harvesting occurring leading to timber/family owned logging businesses closing. They are selling equipment. This is creating an impact on local economies P
Wood supply change should be considered P
Wood fiber markets should be considered P
Global wood/wood market impacts on southern forests P
Job opportunities decreasing for wood-based businesses P
Increasing pressures with profit margins P
Land based/forest based conflicts may increase P
Larger, high cost equipment on increasingly smaller tracts causes costs to rise for landowner to actively manage P
Increasing markets for forest residue will have impacts P
Consider impacts on next rotation and site productivity P
We will be doing more damage to the land by generating cellulosic ethanol rather than leaving it on the ground P
We need a life cycle analysis to evaluate the above situation P
More variety of government cost share programs may be needed P
Development of Russian and South American forest resources is creating markets P
Consider monetary policy of trading partners P
Markets are changing with demographic changes P
Uneducated population and political leaders still do not understand the value of timber and the timber industry P
Market distortions are created by government policies P
Urbanization/Fragmentation is based on manageable units P
The smaller the tract the higher cost to manage P
Ecosystem services value to communities is not understood by the public P
Landownership changes: do new land owners truly understand options available to them? P
The devalued American dollar is having an impact on global markets P
Immigration policy may affect plantation management P
Rapid development of technology should help landowners get information from the experts easier and quicker leading to lower management costs P
Impacts of forest certification—demand for and increased cost to do—will the public pay for this? P
Ecosystem services once lost will be difficult and expensive to replace P
Friction among groups will increase on how forests need to be managed and used P
Recognize user conflicts (i.e., birdwatching vs hunters) P
Adjacent landowners P
Increasing technology is creating easier access to information and more input on management activities P
“Flattening of the earth” is likely P
What will the impacts of current political events be? P
What will the impacts of increasing national security be? P
More economic incentive may be provided to put forested lands into agriculture to meet the growing population and energy needs P
As more people are moving into rural areas we are seeing more nuisance complaints P
NY example: NYC paid “upstream/upstate” forested landowners to keep land forested for watershed protection. May be something like this is needed in the south P
Generational changes are impacting public lands. Not as many people outdoors P
We are seeing policy changes that impact active management. It is harder to get the job done P
We are seeing more diverse landowners bringing varied cultural-based management and uses to the land resulting in land use changes P
Where communities diversify their economy, their economic condition improves P
Soils are better and there is more rain in the coastal areas P
Increased forest residue production could affect labor and timber market capacity. Is there/will there be an adequate labor force? P
Changing attitudes can/may impact public land management. Conflicting ideas of the “greatest” use of the land P
Increasing energy costs may create issues for sawmills—when they use byproducts for energy production P
Heir property—land held in common—can't be actively managed. A lot of land will be underutilized P
As recreation use becomes more intense, we may see an increase in conflicts among users. P
Consider impacts from having to use more fertilizer
Institutional
  Consider Estate Taxes P
Consider Capital gains taxes P
Consider Corporate income tax P
Changing ownership types affect the impact of taxes and other institutional factors (for example, REIT's vs. NIPF) P
Increased fragmentation of forest is driven by institutional factors P
Current use valuation for taxes helps keep forests in forest P
Are there Homestead exemption implications? P
Key to keeping forest in forests is return on investment to owners P
Types of owners will change P
Uncertainty (risk) of forest management must be reflected in economic analyses P
Economies of scale affect forest landownership—smaller tracts are more costly to manage P
Increased regulation in the wildland urban interface such as noise, harvest permits, burning restrictions add burden to managing forest P
Increased urbanization restricts forest management options, some management may not be allowable P
Land use policy or zoning in forest areas likely to be increasing P
We have seen government using eminent domain to take private land for development purposes P
There are opportunities for new value streams with increasing urbanization (maybe higher value for recreation or other ecosystem services) P
Increasingly urban population (and their values for forest land use) will have more political influence in the future over policy and regulation P
Increasing public interest in sustainable and/or organic production P
Air quality regulations (EPA) can alter management options by impacting existing forest industry (mills) or land management activities (Rx fire) P
Water quality regulations will likely become more stringent, perhaps Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL's P
Whether Best Management Practice implementation is voluntary or mandatory will affect forests P
Wetland regulations—what if the silvicultural exemption is removed? P
Threatened and endangered species protection affects mgmt options P
Possible increase of state forest practices acts with associated regulations P
Load limits on highways and trucks affect transportation costs P
Forest/farm programs create incentive for different types of land use and can affect the balance of fiber production, ag use, and reserves P
There is a decline in funding support for forest/farm programs that will alter the balance of land use if it continues P
Lands enrolled in programs or committed through easements may have reduced land-use options P
Funding for forest protection work helps NIPF owners keep forests productive—fire protection, invasives control, etc P
IRS rules on equipment depreciation will impact cost of operations P
Operating costs are strongly affected by fuel costs and associated taxes P
Operating costs rise with increasing regulation (buffer zones, etc) P
Liability policy for forest owners (Rx fire, for example) - Implications? P
National trade policy affects our forest management and industry and we have little control over it P
Increasing influence of international policies such as EU rules affecting use of our forests P
Impact of climate change and national policy responses to it (such as Kyoto) P
Carbon accounting systems give different uses of forests different carbon storage credit and will affect the potential value landowners receive P
Forest certification rules influence management, connection to markets and demand for certified products? P
Subsidizing the development of bioenergy may have a negative impact on traditional forest industry P
Bioenergy policy development needs to clearly be within a sustainable framework P
Tax credits and policy needs to insure a level playing field for various wood consumers P
Environmental NGO's influence forest policy P
Forest industry associations work to influence forest policy P
Political turnover (elections and administration changes) can quickly impact some policy P
Forest values (ecosystem services) are not being reflected in policy decision-making P
t (forests/wilEducational institutions play an important role in shaping public understanding of the value and function of our natural environmendlife) P
Possible Resource: Alabama comprehensive wildlife strategy plan (on the website Resource
Land Uses
  Strong urbanizational trend will increase societal values associated with the stabilization of water quality and quantity due to forests P
Urbanization causing forest fragmentation making it difficult to manage forests and wildlife P
Changes in land use based on changes of needs in energy markets P
Increase in fragmentation of large private land tracts that decrease values in recreation, etc., and increase pressures on public lands P
Increase in wildlife (hunting, viewing) increase land use values P
Consumptive uses (hunting, fishing) are decreasing and non-consumptive uses (bird watching) are increasing P
Impacts of changes in forest product industry on selling off of land and future investments in mill capacity P
May be an increase in demand for bio-energy fuels in the south P
Forests in areas where urbanization is occurring may shift from carbon sink to carbon source P
As societal values of forests change, then land use may change (to non-production uses) P
Increase in taxes will more quickly move lands out of forests and into development use P
In rural counties, what changes in land value will occur if industries come in which would provide jobs P
TNC and various land trusts expand land ownership, they will also expand public understanding of ecological values, but this could also lead to restrictions on extractive uses P
Forests may be changing from production to recreational uses P
Population growth has changed the price of land, which is changing forest land into something else P
Personal wealth contributes to changes in land use (can afford to by land for whatever purpose) P
Changes in ownership patterns--people out of the area are purchasing property P
Lands going into conservation easements (e.g., TNC) so will be managed differently P
Turnover of family properties as populations age and die, or properties get broken up with multiple heirs P
Much industry land in AL is being sold off to TIMO's and REIT's, which manage the land differently and sell off the more valuable tracts—forest land is shrinking P
Changes in land use patterns change the ability to do prescribed burns on lands—smaller companies (and TIMO's) don't have their own fire crews so they rely on state assistance more P
Most of fragmentation of forests occur in transition zones between the Piedmont and Coastal Plain P
Drought has caused folks to think about watershed values and building of reservoirs P
As land use changes, urbanization of forests challenges the property rights of the land owners, resulting in increasing pressure on local governments for land use restrictions P
Some lands in north Alabama are becoming poultry farms. You can't smoke chickens from prescribed fire or do aerial fertilization near poultry farms. P
How do products of urbanization (like transportation systems, ROW's) change the amount of forest land? P
Loss of economies of scale as parcel size decreases—can have an impact on forest health because parcels may be too small to cut (manage) P
What role does speculation play on land use values (buying land to sell at a higher price later)? P
With an increase with of urban areas, will there be an increase in urban forestry? May be a different approach to educate students. P
REIT's owned land near urban areas are strictly managed only to possibly increase development value later P
Natural resource professionals (forest managers) are serving a different client than the traditional private forest landowner—planners, developers, city officials, homeowners, ranchette owners—due to urbanization P
Change in land use is changing productivity—amount of money in forestry is going down—less intensive forestry, unless new markets develop that change this trend P
Need to consider historical land use to project future land use P
A database would be helpful P
Forest management equipment needs to change P
Need lower cost equipment to deal with smaller tracts P
Forest community changes and land cover change due to climate change P
Intensity of land use may be changing P
Urban forests are more productive than suburban forests P
Less ozone stress, more open canopies, higher nitrogen deposition in urban forests leads to higher biomass P
Shift of industry land from serving a mill to being more valuable for development P
Once developed, will never revert back to forests P
Also affects wildlife habitat and diversity and water quality P
As biofuels increase, will CRP lands revert back to ag land? P
Also as biofuels increase,decrease wildlife diversity? P
We tend to care less in changes between natural forest to managed forest and hardwoods to pines, but need to emphasize more with climate change P
People moving to forested environments bring “stuff” with them that affects the forest environment P
Biological/Physical
  Mountain-top removal effects on forests AC
Warming trend will cause species shifts (invasives, natives, migration) More pronounced in coastal plain—migrating north CP
Ringneck dove is now in Virginia (migrating up or down the coastal plain) CP
Climate fluctuations may be affecting current investment decisions P
Physical factors— effects on water? P
Is climate change valid? Even if it is debatable, it needs to be modeled P
Will soils quality be affected by physical factors? P
Models give 1-6 degree change. IPPC model is extreme. Need to consider range and more moderate factors P
Measure and express the uncertainty of models P
Hurricanes, drought effects on forests P
Consider Root damage from large events P
Tree shifts P
Is it going to get hotter? P
Invasives are critical P
Cogon grass is the #1 concern in the south (P/CP) P
Also privet, kudzu, baccarus (salt bush) P
Invasives can replace entire forests P
Climate change->growing periods->invasives P
Southern pine decline—uncertain causes P
Oak decline P
Diwscuss Multiple stress interactions P
What control do we have over these factors? P
How might we adapt and overcome these? P
Climate change: how can we change it? P
People have a short attention span; facing reality is an issue P
“As long as I get mine, I don't care about you” P
biology—chemicals, fertilizers—what are the cumulative effects? P
Water issues—the effect on marine life P
Forestry vs agriculture: environmental impacts of forestry are minimal to those of agriculture P
Smoke from prescribed fire affects the poultry industry in the State as well as the people P
Insect and disease levels—our ability to actively manage a forest. Appropriate species to site. Ownership changes may cause more health issues P
Ability to control outbreaks is affected by ownership and lack of resources P
More pests we don't even know about yet—more waves to come P
How to quarantine—globally and across the state P
EPA requirements and continued urbanization impacts the ability to burn P
Interactions of physical and biological-compounded by people who can plant what they want P
Management activities may be setting this up—setting up stresses P
Wind and root damage—an avenue for insects and disease P
Need for professionalism: training, continuing education P
Professionalism: training, continuing education is expensive, but necessary P
Need high tech tools for training P
Changing markets can impact markets and can impact health of forests P
If there is no market, why thin the forest? P
Energy push—conversion of forests, how will this affect forest management? It may adversely affect wildlife management, etc. Push to manage differently and that is not necessarily what is best for the land P
If more plantations, how affect wildlife and non-timber benefits? How compared to other management techniques? P
Soils—macroorganisms: what is the effect of management on these? Biofuel harvesting P
Cloning of seedlings reduces diversity and increases potential impacts of diseases and insects P
Higher sea level on coastal forests (salt) P
Consider that hurricanes are moving invasives inland P
Warmer, droughtier, harder look at reforestration—more container seedlings, adapted to drought, consider that may not be able to prescribe burn P
If can't burn there is an effect on longleaf pine ecosystems. Collision between what we want and what we can do. P
Management activity is affected in all cases P
Burning is an effective and efficient tool—it will be bad if we lose it P
We have pine monocultures—the wrong bug gets them all P
Longleaf is a diverse ecosystem and we may lose it P
Declining forest from urbanization: there is potential for soil loss and sedimentation P
Forest salvage after disease/insects. We lose carbon on site when we harvest P
Biofuel issue: if you remove all the fuels there are potential problems with soil fertility P
Is there a model of forests after insect/disease attack? P
Anthropogenic—human construction (roads etc) affect forests physical condition. One canal and 10,000 acres of forest are affected P
Piedmont is a poster child for urbanization P
Soil sedimentation kills trees P
Forest management vs ag management-benign vs virulent? P
Consider future use of insecticides and herbicides P
What lies beneath the surface? P
Consider fossil fuel extraction effects—mine runoff P
People are unaware that forests provide a broad range of products (water, timber, ecosystem services) P
There are region-wide effects from air pollution from coal-fired plants P
Acid rain in the south? P
Urban sprawl related to unnatural critters (cats, dogs, exotic plants) P
Exotic wildlife have an affect on native habitats (e.g., diseases) P
Illegal drug production is an issue, such as: P
Marijuana plantations on national forests P
Chemical effects from meth lab dumps P
Moonshine too P
Illegal drug operations pose a threat to hunters (booby traps, etc) P
Are southern hardwoods replacing pine as technology changes? If we remove fire there will be more hardwoods. Will we coppice hardwoods for biofuels? P
We have a lot of soils that are no good for hardwoods. If we go for hardwood biofuels, how will that affect soils, wildlife, etc? P
Warmer climate here will cause a longer growing season. It is difficult to isolate as a factor. It could increase growth provided all else remains equal P
Longer growing season, shorter reforestation period P
Local effects on weather? Too much uncertainty P
As parcels get smaller, goals change. More diverse forests P
Forest land for the ordinary man - consider P
What if everyone wants a pond? P
If the drought continues watersheds will be more important for wildlife and people (ponds/lakes for wildlife in case of drought) P
People/wildlife conflicts likely to increase P
Water rights. Can cities buy them? P
Air pollution is more important because of urbanization. Ozone effects on city/suburban forests, especially because of urbanization P
Increased industrialization causes nitrogen deposition and increased smoke P
Forest Management
  Global markets import cheaper imports and impact our markets … and the coastal plain is accessible CP
Policy shifts make markets fragile and political shifts can change over night. The coastal plain is very suceptible CP
Coastal Plain/Piedmont issue: Income from wildlife CP/P
Management for wildlife outputs and rights is positive P
Urbanization may increase regulation that dictates what products we can grow and manage P
Hurricanes and storms are changing timber products to younger age classes P
Technology is needed to better convert smaller stems to useable products P
Southern forests are favored because of rapid growth P
Competitive products from other markets are easily accessible P
Pellet industry is driven by European demand and the South is well suited to produce P
Water quality values will change as demands on land will change—urbanization, etc P
The pellet industry is likely to change the Southern forest industry P
The use of pre-merchantable materials will increase the fiber market and potentially improve markets P
Markets provide incentive to hold forest land P
Markets will open new forest industry jobs. To harvest on small scale new technology is needed P
Market trends in the South may change trends from wider spacing to more stems to take advantage of opportunities P
Clone technology may change the look of forests and create controversy P
Agro-forestry in the South is likely to reduce timber supply based on product demand P
Multiple stream incomes are available but not well developed in the region P
Carbon credit sales are non-existent in the South P
Need to develop markets for small diameter timber P
Need to use small diameter markets for wildlife and forest enhancement P
Population changes/urbanization restricts the use of fire for appropriate forest communities P
Prescribed burning is becoming more risky to land owners P
Difficulty in perpetuating critical forests because of the loss of use of prescribed fire P
Southern forest product cycles affect the forests that landowners grow P
The change in southern markets affect landowner incentives to retain forests P
If the south loses markets then landowners lose incentives to hold forests P
Insufficient alternate product development/technology to encourage or increase forestry and make it more attractive P
Competitive uses of wood may price limited wood supplies out of some markets out of business in large increments P
Global markets driven by politics inflate markets and damage existing markets (market distortions) P
Certified wood demand may change future markets. Southern private landowners may not be certified P
Timber provides financial resources to support less tangible benefits from forests P
Ecosystem services are free to other groups P
The potential for small markets will encourage forest ownership which supports other benefits P
Political and sensational issues are driving our markets and investments 99carbon credits and biofuels P