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Comments Recieved at Blacksburg

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

  Comments Subregion
Social/Economic
  Evaluate the impacts on physical boundaries. Encroachment uses (both legitimate and otherwise) will ‘spill over' to forest land either deliberately or simply because of proximity. AC
Consider that interface - use patterns, adjacent non-conforming or non-compatible uses may lead to conflicts AC
Consider parcelizations/fragmentation – may cause change in use patterns; e.g. certain uses may decrease because size of parcel may decrease below some minimum AC
Population growth is the driver. Evaluate income profile of communities, example: growth of more affluent populace (.e.g. Blacksburg) will be fundamentally different from growth of more traditionally based communities AC
Assess diversity of impacts (open “non-urban suburban” space, etc) AC
Assess pressure on traditional uses AC
Consider the minimal connection with the land AC
The ‘city mouse moves to the country' syndrome; city mouse is presumed naïve or uneducated about country values/virtues AC
Assess increasing awareness of value and need for Ecosystem Services (water, mitigation for infrastructure, Biodiversity) AC
Assess causes for population growth? Need to predict where it will be. AC
Non-timber forest products (harvest) will come under pressure. AC
Evaluate forests as drawing card in attracting young, educated folks to the areas. AC
Evaluate demand for water. Out west everyone knows that Whiskey is for drinking and Water is for fighting (GW_JEFF Forest Supervisor comment). But the East already is changing as water demand is increasing and use conflicts intensifying. Need to better understand water balance and water budget, quantity and quality AC
With population increase there will come increase or decrease for demand of wild land; some will want more for recreation/spiritual renewal while others will value the land for its development potential AC
Evaluate energy prices. Bioenergy use will be affected by subsidies. Cost of transportation (fuel) could result in local demand for forest products. The cost of energy will lead to efficiency and potentially higher use of locally-produced forest products and wood for fuel. Consider coal bed methane gas wells, natural gas production AC
Develop mechanisms to integrate government across scales to address ecosystem services, e.g.. county, state, federal. Ecosystem Services Issues need to be addressed at large scales AC
Evaluate taxes (incentives/disincentives) AC
Consider use of conservation easements AC
Forest Service has “Open Space Conservation Strategy” AC
Consider green infrastructure planning AC
Consider green certification (Forest Products). This was part of a ‘discourse' on novel strategies/incentives for managing growth AC
Consider landscape modification for wind energy production AC
Consider ecotourism impacts for wind energy production AC
Consider wildlife impacts (birds/bats) and wind energy production AC
Consider fragmentation (biodiversity, invasive species) and wind energy production AC
Consider bioenergy infrastructure development (e.g. loss of land to site development, roads, etc) AC
Consider surface mining (opportunities for reforestation) AC
Evaluate mountain top removal (not only an issue for coal mining but also for wind turbine site development) AC
Landowners don't want to cut trees AC
Landowners need to be educated AC
Landowner will have Influence of forest management/wildlife decisions. AC
Evaluate changes in local economies (e.g.. loss of mills and capacity perhaps replaced with new service provider) AC
Consider forest co-op's as a means to make management possible for small landowners. (Scandinavian model?) AC
Consider shrinking role of mountain forests in global timber markets (unless fuel or allied transportation costs make imports less competitive): example – bamboo flooring is cheap now but Appalachian hardwoods could become competitive if cost of bamboo imports increases due to fuel costs) AC
Consider increase in demand for recreation (hiking, horseback riding, biking, etc). AC
People are still dependent on forests. Historical tie to forests being lost AC
Access will be an issues (fees?). Access to forest land in general, development of ‘exclusive' use clubs, etc. Willingness To Pay studies will be an important tool AC
Land Uses/Forest Management
  Evaluate future markets ---questions about future wood products markets and emergence of other markets, e.g. medicinal plants, ecosystem services. Dave Loftis' note: I might add that the special issue in the Apps/Cumbs having to do with markets is a concern about permanently losing markets for high-quality hardwood sawtimber and replacing it with some lower-value wood fiber market. The problem in this subregion that is distinctive is the topography and therefore, high costs of extracting wood relative to value of products AC
Future markets. questions about future wood products markets and emergence of other markets, e.g. medicinal plants, ecosystem services. Dave Loftis' note: I might add that the special issue in the AC having to do with markets is a concern about permanently losing markets for high-quality hardwood sawtimber and replacing it with some lower-value wood fiber market. The problem in this subregion that is distinctive is the topography and therefore, high costs of extracting wood relative to value of products AC
In Asheville and Roanoke areas, outdoor recreation is being pushed as an important forest value—gets to quality of life and competing preferences for the provision of forest benefits AC
This area is experiencing a loss of capacity for lumber manufacturing, especially in the rural areas--due to ASQ (allowable sale quotient) from public forests AC
As population increases we see rising property values—this has effects on land prices, including forest land prices AC
As population increases, we see more fragmentation. Assess the relationship to mining and more intensive fragmentation associated with oil/gas methane—coal bed) AC
Given population growth, there will be an increasing need for NF planning/coordination with local water supply utilities AC
Evaluate demand for recreation sites for ATV/ORV, horseback riding, hiking, biking will increase AC
Assess negative spin-offs from increased tourism being sought by local communities----i.e.. population growth AC
Evaluate conflicting uses on public lands. Evaluate demand for services for these uses—more amenities and convenience for forest users---real example of feedback received at a trailhead out West requesting location of a McDonald's close to the trailhead. AC
Evaluate energy from biomass. Better silviculture, Aesthetics—perhaps or probably negative. Increased returns to landowners. Cheap energy for localities. Set of sites where nutrient cycling could be an issue. Other potential issues---wildlife habitat (positive or negative effects). Institutional ‘directions' – 25% of renewable energy. Substituting one industry for another. AC
Poorer markets will have effects on “forest health” and diversity of habitats AC
Evaluate biomass production and distance to point of utilization---higher efficiency if closer AC
Wind energy--possible increasing pressure from utilities to locate windmills on ridges. Aesthetics, Effects on birds and bats. AC
Consider climate change resulting in species shift. Management—what do we manage for, given the tension between uncertainty and the long-term nature of forest management AC
Consider that biodiversity issues/public policy should become the primary job of federal land management agencies. Evaluate diversity of habitats AC
Evaluate the effects of easements—no action alternative frequently chosen. No development, but perhaps no management either. AC
Evaluate Forest Management---what is the future given the mix of owners (TIMO, REIT, FS, urban owners of forest land)? Assess housing in rural places. AC
Evaluate ag prices -- may push back to forest or vice versa AC
Biological/Physical
  Age class distribution of forests in Appalachian/Cumberland Sub-Region is skewed. 70% of stands are 70-120 year old hardwoods. Expect species changes in replacement forests. Large volume available for forest products. Expect fire increase, increase in insect problems, increase in ice and storm damage, etc AC
Consider globalization of trade, people movement. Invasives are of concern. Hardwoods are more vulnerable by nature. Region is dominant oak producer in the world AC
Oaks will be less dominant in 100 years due to disturbances. Evaluate wildlife species changes and populations impacted AC
Evaluate lack of early successional habitat in subregion affects wildlife (e.g. nongame birds, ruffed grouse). AC
Aging forest – regeneration will require intervention (no resprouting). Different from regeneration after cutting forest. AC
Oaks (hickory, maple, etc…) will be naturally regenerated. This will result in species shifts because trees won't be replanted AC
Consider Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP): Effects of insects, weather and climate unknown for these species and there is little data. Likewise for medicinal plants. There is large monetary value in NTFPs. Increased urbanization – more people collect NTFPs. AC
Impacts of fire in VA is not appreciated – impacts on old growth, cost. Example of exhausted state firefighting funds for 2008. AC
Air pollution has impacts on stream acidification, nitrogen uptake, tree growth. AC
Consider climate Change – Water availability becomes a big issue for the region. AC
Timber values are affected (diminished) by repeated fires on a stand. AC
If oak is lost, what will replace it? Consider loss of leaf peeper recreation and the money they bring (eco-tourism). Region becomes less attractive for hunting. Land less valuable as site for costly homes. AC
What will replace hemlock if it disappears? Evaluate impacts on streams and riparian forest. AC
Higher densities of older trees is contributing to forest health problems. Current condition of oak dominance may have never existed before now.
Interaction of oak decline, climate change, fire, etc. is of concern. Fire suppression --Now people live in the forest and expect fire protection. If we try to restore natural timber stands, we need to change fire regime. Increased chances for catastrophic fire due to warmer, drier climate
AC
Evaluate loss of high value oaks, etc. This means less money for management and therefore, fewer management options. AC
Evaluate economic impacts of decrease in high value trees on traditional family economy – families used to sell off trees on a woodlot if needing money. AC
Wildlife hunting and viewing depend on diverse forest habitats and can generate money for landowners. Evaluate marketing for this. AC
New landowners are interested in incremental income from multiple products (NTFP) rather than just timber. AC
Protected water supplies depend on forested watersheds. AC
More species will be lost than oak and hemlock AC
Evaluate loss of trout streams due to HWA, climate change, economics. AC
What causes fallout of red and sugar maple at high elevation? AC
Evaluate change in forest species. This results in change in soils productivity, loss of soils, increase in sediments delivered to streams, and change in hydrology (especially with loss of hemlock). AC
Assess acidification. This impacts species reproduction for Neotropical migrants, fish, etc… AC
Consider synergistic effects of air pollution, acidification, insects, blights, and climate change on forest ecosystem, including fauna. AC
Climate change has impacts on phenology of species (trees, plants, wildlife, fish) AC
Consider removal of wood for biofuels, carbon sequestration, etc…Effects on soils, NTFPs, forest ecosystem? Selling carbon credits – landowners are already gearing up. AC
Increased CO2 means increased biomass and affects: “Brown down” (loss of biomass due to increased insects) (ref. Ron Nielson). Evaluate water balance. AC
Is the Appalachian/Cumberland subregion a likely place for biofuels? Western part of the state has economical balance of growth/drain [seems to be a forest industry term]. Uncertain for many. People are planting now for biofuels. Look at Europe -- Did wood play a big role? AC
Evaluate fragmentation of forests due to climate change and invasive species. AC
What are impacts of non-native earthworms on soil? AC
Consider climate change adaptation. Should we do assisted migration? AC
What are the effects of increasing acceleration of invasive species, especially in the context of climate change? AC