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Comments Recieved at College Station

image: cluster of young red oak leaves

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

  Comment Subregion
Social
  Consider that changing cultural demographics may change how forests are used/valued
As population increases we'll see conflict over different management and issues (prescribed fire and harvest)
As environmental activists age, folks face limited resources, and kids get more unattached to the land, who will care about our environment?
Consider as population grows so will need more water. We'll see reservoirs built and wetlands will need to be mitigated. Will put productive bottomland out of production impacting our downstream flows and ecosystem function on wetlands
Consider different values and/or misinformation
Consider forest landowners face struggles that come with urbanization (garbage dumping, vandalism, drug production)
Consider intergenerational transfers. Will see property transferred from older owners.
Consider land consolidation. Within 50 years we are likely to see the pendulum swing away from fragmenting ownerships to private landowners wanting to consolidate smaller holdings into larger tracts again. This will be driven by social issues like elders wanting to be close to medical care and moving closer in
Consider landownership change comes as population increases
Consider political pressures in East TX for more public ownership; desire for feds/state to acquire more land
Consider that as demographics (age and ethnicity) change, natural resource educators are spending more money to broaden the message to new audiences.Need to find new methods to reach others (urban/rural, more retirees)
Consider that energy prices will affect where folks go to recreate. They may stay closer to home
Consider that increased planting of bio fuels could change land use patterns depending on what the fuel is
Consider that increased population and subsequent land use affects the very sensitive post oaks
Consider that ORV use threatens forest integrity
Consider that population growth is leading to fragmentation of forests
Consider that society's awareness of natural resource issues will affect what happens to the forests
Consider that the forests West of CS are distinctly and drastically different than other areas in the Mid South—geographically different, ecologically, vegetatively (no southern pine forests), the amount of rainfall, temperature, the way people look at and use the forests—all are very different.
Consider that we'll see increased pressure on all uses (recreation, wildlife, etc). These pressures will provide opportunities for ecosystem services
Consider the proposed Trans-TX Corridor, it has the potential to take land out of production to serve transportation needs. Side effect will be increased import/export in the mid-south, secondary development, and population increases along the corridor
Consider the transition from traditional to non-traditional land use
Consider urbanization in East TX
Consider value changes. We will experience a decreasing social tie to places and an increasing economic tie (financial interest instead of love for the community and its best interests)
Consider water issue in Central and West TX —especially quantity
Evaluate the effects of fire suppression. It has created water-sucking, unnatural ecosystems (cedar and juniper) creating water quantity issues. Endangered species now dependent on the changed ecosystem complicating the issue
Economic
  Consider federal support of biofuel production and the impacts that would have
  Consider that energy prices will change what land managers will be able to do to manage forests—it will cost more to harvest. This will result in forest health issues from lack of management
  Consider that investment driven management (TIMOs/REITS) is changing the dynamics of forest use and management. Harvest is accelerating
  Consider that land will be too expensive to grow timber on. Will see conversion to other uses (houses and other development)
  Consider that we may see increase in wind farms and coal mining as alternative forms of energy are needed
  Consider the great difference in use of biomass and cost to transport across the state. Look at differences across the sub-region
  Evaluate biofuel market vs. carbon banking
  Evaluate federal tax structure (inequity between “C” corporations and TIMO's is influencing what TIMO's will hold or sell)
  Evaluate global competition. As industry evolves in the south, we not be competitive in world markets
  Evaluate global competition. We may need to supply our own regional needs instead of supplying global needs
  Evaluate how ecosystem markets will affect forest uses and how the need for water quality/quantity may influence the number of forests
  Evaluate if green building trend may work with energy prices as they increase. Need to look at regional sources for building materials
  More alternative revenue streams (mountain biking and ecotourism) will create incentives to hold on to the land. Need to increase awareness of the possibilities
  What is the effect on willingness to reforest and plant trees as markets decrease or increase? Is there a role for federal support?
Institutional
  Evaluate impacts of water rights, land mitigation, water quality – landowners required to maintain quality TX, OK
Consider a tax policy where one can't go from forest to wildlife exemption—must have an agriculture exemption to begin with
Consider a tax structure that does not benefit timber growers
Consider a tax structure that encourages land management
Consider ad valorum taxes
Consider ag products for biofuels vs. forest products for biofuels
Consider biofuels, tree planting – ability to maintain strong logging. Evaluate the parameters, not just good vs. bad
Consider death tax—it leads to fragmentation
Consider decisions that cause decrease in staffing and brain drain in management decisions
Consider disproportionate mitigation sizes
Consider forest certification
Consider forestry terrorism and how it ties up resources
Consider fragmentation—absentee landowners, county governments hamstrung by lack of zoning authority
Consider how judicial decisions impact forests
Consider if we will be able to meet our own demand?
Consider incentives for carbon credits, consider ecosystem services
Consider inholdings within national forests
Consider land uses next to national forests, commercial development etc. Consider property rights, reservoirs, roads (I-69)
Consider not adding new carbon to air
Consider not just USFS, also DOE, EPA, others
Consider policies regarding genetic engineering of forest species
Consider preservation vs. conservation
Consider property taxes, inheritance tax, generational transition
Consider that a larger national policy is needed, policies that manage the demand, legislate common sense
Consider that carbon credits restart land use –timber harvesting. Base analysis on world markets. What is potential of new markets?
Consider that carbon protocols may cap trade
Consider that energy policy favors natural regeneration
Consider that forest landowners receive benefits that some ag owners do not. Consider planting in environmental zones.
Consider that FS. timber supply has been written off
Consider that it is hard to get funding for prescribed burning
Consider that large landowners no longer have incentive to be involved in research
Consider that lot of programs promote grazing
Consider that policies need to be based on more research
Consider that state/federal resources are dwindling—ag producers are going out of business because the land is going to other uses
Consider that tax structure has brought about sell-off of land by industry
Consider that taxes in TX come from land taxes and sales tax (there is now state income tax). Property owners are penalized.
Consider that there is no market for thinnings
Consider the lack of forest management by F.S. including not clearing undergrowth, not removing downed wood, fuel loading
Consider the old growth nature of the national forest--old trees give off carbon. NF management is prone to SPB. NF need to be managed.
Consider unintended consequences
Consider whether federal policy will hinder job development or foster it
Evaluate biofuels, opportunity to harvest otherwise unusable timber, private land vs. government, water quality, impact on species
Evaluate biomass plans given incentives and subsidies
Evaluate changes in how new owners view land use
Evaluate changing demographics
Evaluate economic development and the potential of timber – long and short-term ramifications
Evaluate how non-forestry issues impact forestry issues (like bio fuels) and can lead to deficiencies in forest, e.g.., air quality vs. burning—EPA restrictions as urbanization occurs, such as Sam Houston NF (near Houston)
Evaluate lack of incentives for new mills
Evaluate the ability of the National forests to supply biomass
Evaluate the impact of developers
Evaluate the water quality implications of forest stand improvement vs. planting
Evaluate water demand, protect all, bottomland hardwoods, reservoirs
Rural areas becoming urban areas. Evaluate the need to have somewhere to go for information, Consider laws and policy from a national perspective, we need to be able to fund forestry issues in rural areas
Land Uses
  Evaluate forest volume in east TX, 2003 FIA data show no decline and increasing volume E. TX
Consider agroforestry issues in the Hill country—viticulture and enology, or “llamas in the Hill Country”—can folks make money in these pursuits?
Consider logger demographics, a huge issue. No young loggers, old loggers retiring, young loggers can't afford the startup costs for big new equipment
Consider mill stability into the future, can we sell a 20” log in the future? Can someone mill it?
Consider that changes in forest tract size are driven by urban expansion (fragmentation), for example, changes in Huntsville TX are driven by Houston, same for small towns near Dallas and Austin
Consider that land in natural condition in central, west and east TX is increasing in value due to shade, cooling, and other benefits which add to property value. Promote conservation and folks will pay extra for this land
Consider that urbanization is driving up land prices and limiting new NF acquisitions or making it more expensive
Consider the demand for water—new reservoirs are being planned for Dallas and San Antonio. Consider impoundments, management on lands adjacent to impoundments, and mitigation on managed lands that feed impoundments
consider the opportunity to capture residuals and smaller stems in harvest that were not captured previously
Consider transportation in the I-69 corridor and especially the Trans-Texas Corridor (see 1st section, NY Times, 2/10/08)
Evaluate changes in WHY landowners own forest land, NIPF landowner no longer interested in timber as an only or primary crop. Consider Institutional owners (TIMOs, REITs); as they “monetize” their land, increasing fragmentation, flipping land from large to small parcels, resulting in changes in management or cessation of management (e.g. progressive high-grading or conversion)
Evaluate changing economies and mill supplies in foreign countries? Globalization of lumber markets?
evaluate concerns about “real estate cutting' and associated practices
Evaluate different values of new NIPF landowners
Evaluate ecological restoration and conflicts with pine production, how to retain values of multiple species and maintain natural communities?
Evaluate future markets for the timber that is grown—pulpwood may be valuable, but who will cut it?
Evaluate impacts of bioenergy—commercial sale of material previously only precommercially thinned or of small dbh. What are the ecological effects of utilization of increasingly small material? Effects on forest health?
Evaluate population increases in central Texas (I-35 corridor) and the impact on resources on both sides of it
Evaluate retention of watershed function (water quality and quantity) under all land use changes
Evaluate SFI and related effects on land use, especially green certification, green products, efforts to promote local use. What are the prospects for the Midsouth to be self-sufficient in lumber and fiber supply? Same principles as energy supply or water supply
Evaluate strains in fiber supply in NE TX and SE OK—reduced rotations
Evaluate the adaptation of rural communities to urban attitudes regarding urban forestry and town growth. Big cities have ordinances and laws to protect communities, small towns do not and probably resist them. Ordinances might ignore citizen rights to cut urban trees as needed or to manage timberlands
Evaluate the effects of increasing forest health issues and people's interest in doing what's right on the land
Evaluate the effects of site-specific silvicultural prescriptions versus cookbook prescriptions, how to encourage site-specific work and not the cookbook work?
Evaluate the feasibility of bioenergy or biofuels in Central&West TX—ranchers spend $230/ac to clear trees and brush.
Evaluate the impact of an increase in minimum operable tract size
Evaluate the implications of changes in planting densities. Consider shift seen to reduce planting density. With reduced initial stem density, future options for management may decrease
Evaluate the values and functions of native species and ecosystems under genetic modifications and engineering-- tree improvement? clonal plantations?
Evaluate trends for loggers, 30-50 ac tracts increasingly inoperable. Also, how can loggers sustain operations as average dbh of harvested trees decreases from 16 inches to 8 inches? New loggers are absent from the workforce –filled by Hispanic crews, or logging outfits? Evaluate increasing cost of production on a raw material of decreasing size. Sellers will need to pay the logger more, driving down returns to landowner, may bring less profit for landowner or for TIMOs. Could that change profitability of TIMOs and change their business plans and activities?
Evaluate volatility in TIMO ownerships
Evaluate whether land use changes and FIA trends from further east will apply in TX
How do we maintain both productivity and sustainability?
How will harvesting technology affect the area in the future—no chain saws in the woods anymore
Include recycled materials in resource supply questions and analyses
Use real time data, it will be extremely important, both for SFFP and for future decision-making.
Will east Texas see increases in pine plantations?
Will landowners be willing to pay for a niche service from consulting foresters in the future for conservation, forest health protection (e.g. injection to protect high-value trees, partial cutting)
Biological
  Consider how synergy between multiple forces (climate, insects, invasive spp) may exacerbate the effects?
Consider management practices that affect site sustainability.
Consider T&E species changes.
How might genetic engineering impact native species?
How will at-risk small landowners be encouraged to control or prevent infestations of SPB?
How will floodplain forests change due to Chinese tallow?
How will oak wilt affect oaks in central TX?
How will small landowner forests fare during catastrophic wind events?
Physical
  Consider the implication/ramifications of climate change, adaptability lags behind. We do not know how this will affect what we need to grow in the future MS
Consider changes in fire regime resulting from landowners not being able to prescribe burn their land due to liability and air quality. Herbicide use is increased and opens up new set of issues (drift, water, etc)
Consider how land is being acquired for other than timber value
Consider surface mining impacts.
Consider that bio-energy may effect uses of raw material, new markets
Consider that payments for ecosystem services may affect future development.
Consider that urban areas are going to rural areas to meet needs for water
Consider the need for more long term research/funding and research driven educational opportunities regarding climate change effects
Energy prices and transportation challenges may hamper economic development and markets.
Evaluate the multiplying effects of reservoirs, mitigation, concrete, pavement, etc on all resources, esp. timberlands and forestry production
How will urbanization affect ground water recharge (highways, concrete)
Physical aspects will impact investments of timber in the future, reservoirs and ponds especially. Consider how mitigation will affect the ability to manage resources
There is no normal anymore. Big changes are expected from what we knew as normal.
What opportunities could be derived from changing demographics & fragmentation? Identify opportunities for increased awareness.
Consider that we will lose opportunities to buy and consolidate forest lands for conservation purposes because the land will be too expensive