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Comments Recieved at Little Rock

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

  Comment Subregion
Social/Economic
  Consider low population AR
AR is advertised as the “Natural State”, logo influences people and behavior AR
Economic and social variability is high within state. AR
High percentage of government ownership in state AR
High percentage of population with original or first generational link to the land AR
Still a relatively poor state (mean income), except for Northwest corner of AR AR
State is still relatively rich in natural resources (trees, water) AR
Percentage of retired folks increasing AR
Percentage of Hispanics increasing vs. other states AR
Changes in population affects products grown here (poultry in NW AR analogy) AR
Consider loss of big research coops and reliance on government not private sector for research -some kinds of management—e.g. fire control AR
Consider urban sprawl and effects on management -Little Rock AR
Consider heightened demand for all kinds of recreation, costs of recreation on private lands (leases), adds pressure to management and the natural resources AR
Consider declining population in Delta, strong economic effect in state, economy of region, lack of industry AR
Consider absentee ownership and that multiple owners inhibit management AR
Assess status of AR infrastructure and influence on future trends AR
Evaluate oil and gas exploration and management impacts AR
Where is AR's population going?
Consider the “Graying” of Arkansas population and questions about the distribution
Assess retirement communities -North Arkansas seeing end of retirement boom. Collapse in retirement communities not being replaced. Reaggregation on private lands. Is this a long-term or short-term trend?
Who is the next generation of landowners? South Arkansas: large ownerships (H.B.U.) are fragmenting, haven't seen this level in 5-6 decades. Industry and private ownerships fragmenting to some degree.
Groups are buying land for recreation and productivity (HWD & Pine). Is there still interest in management? Still interested in buying more land (Deltic, Potlatch, Weyerhauser, Bean)?
What is the investment advantage in owning land especially where populations are growing? Land is removed from production, major conversions in Central and Northern Arkansas, not South Arkansas but ribbons along with highway corridors
Consider global markets -concern about forest product mfg. moving from AR to overseas
Will Poison Springs State Forest be able to sell timber and fund Arkansas Forest Commission? If you grow it, will it be cut?
Absentee ownership is increasing but are they still managing? More contractors, more consultants? Implications not clear.
Consider continued turnover of land (investment view, invested in land but not managing). Smaller and smaller pieces. More clarity in objectives especially institutional investors. Movement into agriculture. Evaluate sector if ag prices go up!
Evaluate expanding population growth. Will prescribed fire be used? (W.U.I.). Will mech. treatments be used? Will active management be used?
Consider lawsuits and influence of management, esp. industry lands, govt lands too, especially limiting /stopping burning.
Consider that population increase spreads invasive species -honeysuckle, privet, kudzu, exotic disease e.g.. S.O.D.
Retirement destination – just a tip of the iceberg. Why? Include issues such as water, views, BBQ, NFS, casinos, good hospitals, etc.
Assess future of industry. If mills close, any ability to manage is lost. NOTE: Depends on what the Forest Service does, forest health issue.
Evaluate the possibility of education programs to promote management -inversely related to education and to rural vs. urban outlook, loss of advocates
Do timo/reits have a “management in perpetuity” commitment? Not wrong, not right, just different and not understood yet
Can management survive parcelization of forest land base? Increases cost of harvesting, size of parcel, incentive to manage or cut
Evaluate logger demographics. How to make a profit with equipment, or growing timber?
Evaluate increasing cost of land (or speculating on land and timber)
Evaluate continued increase of retirement living in Arkansas
Assess reduced recreational use-shift in recreational use-loss of hunting and access vis a vis demographics
Evaluate paper industry globalization, mills will be overseas and fiber supplies will be here, labor/energy here, not there. This probably applies elsewhere. Net exporter of raw wood, grow them but not processing?
Evaluate source of field workers, not just loggers, education (Hispanic education needed throughout workforce)
We need to retain intensive management practices to manage forests cheaply.
Evaluate tax policies and effects on land ownership -property taxes, management.
Evaluate opportunities for new uses of forest products for owners -biofuel, carbon credits, water payments, etc.
We are losing young people in Arkansas, assess ability to attract and retain educated workforce, esp. rural Arkansas. Urban youth education, a key demographic and policy maker education
Investigate green interest, as white hat issue, a social not a financial change drives this move to organic products
Certification is a key to driving green revolution. It has big implications for govt and private sector
Institutional
  Gas exploration is an issue in AR—rights and ownership AR
In MS Alluvial Valley biofuels could result in reduction of forest habitat (what little is left now) AV
MS Alluvial Valley water programs may deplete water aquifers AV
Assess increasing influence of urban legislators—they are removed from the land. This is a special issue in this sub-region AV
Evaluate a cap and trade in Carbon, this could help landowners, but could raise the price of energy
Bioenergy legislation is potentially negative because of the sustainability question. The National mandate for energy self-sufficiency could affect sustainability and could cause unfair competition. Another energy implication is short rotation forestry—more pressure on veneer and lumber production
Evaluate Transportation—bioenergy will create additional traffic volume, issues
Bioenergy may affect ability to compete globally
Tax policy affects ownership—this could continue or reverse, depending on legislation passed (Federal & state)
Immigration policy could affect planting, logging. Where is the labor force to come from?
We need to get trees in the ground that can be used commercially
Economic stimulus policies could stimulate vulnerable owners—bring in development—lead to and sell off
REITS, TIMOs are favored by tax policy. An increase in REITs, TIMOs is issue. Playing field not equal
Evaluate restoration policy—what, where, and to what degree (“green on ground” for strip mines may not be effective restoration)
Don't need to encourage planting of invasive species
Uninformed policy decisions are dangerous. Solving one problem can cause unintended consequences. Feel-good policies may not be sound policies
Consider that many policies made by urban area people affect rural people and land
Assess ability to control non-native species
Consider policies affect a lot of NFS lands
Assess agricultural incentives—if all on food, little effect on forests
Evaluate Bioenergy and possible position for landowners
Consider federal trade agreements with other nations which could affect forests
Consider FS management plans, Availability of timber sales on open markets affects other landowners and affects biofuels
Evaluate acceptance or non-acceptance of certified & non-certified forests. Two-tiered system could work. BMPs may also be two-tiered
We need to understand what we can manipulate (e.g., taxes) what we can't (global trade)
How can incentives be provided for? Evaluate ecosystem services in markets
Should the government get involved in creating policy to keep forests in forests?
Assess non-governmental groups (NGO's) paying private landowners in some cases
Assess forestry education (and conservation ed). This can affect forest values
Professional education is an issue
Evaluate change from timber values to ecosystem services
Global forces will change values of forests
As urban influence grows what will the effect be on land-use controls (zoning, etc)?
Assess selling of lands to retirees is affecting ownership—parcelization and fragmentation of lands
State, Federal programs and the Farm Bill will influence what NIPF landowners do on their land in terms of regeneration and habitat management
Evaluate the need to encourage small landowners to keep forests in forests and allow public access-- through tax policy, through conservation easements or selling development rights. This applies to states, conservation organizations, and private owners. Need state funding/programs to pay for conservation easements
Evaluate how voluntary vs. mandatory policies (like BMP's) will affect how landowners manage their land or may change the income stream from the management
Consider that landowner rights will affect what landowners can do on their property. There is more pressure on the wildland urban interface
Consider that duration of government policy is also a factor (e.g., a 5-yr policy vs. a 30-yr rotation)
We are seeing an unbundling of the traditional bundle of landowner rights (mineral, water, timber). It makes it hard to transfer land because you don't know which rights you are buying any more. (moving west coast and east coast in to the mid section of the States)
Evaluate the need for policies that promote or mandate environmental education that will help the public understand the value of our natural resources. Target educators
We are seeing a proliferation of local ordinances (e.g., trucking rates).
Evaluate local influence local policy on water quality/availability
Consider that local incentives that draw people to cities/local areas will affect the growth of cities, urban revitalization
Assess presence or lack of laws that give “right to practice” forestry (a private property right)
How will hunting regulations, seasons, bag limits influence the use of forests for hunting
If recreation values are taxed on ad valorum basis, how will this influence use and willingness to lease
Land Uses/Timber
  In MS alluvial valley land uses will be driven by available water AV
Evaluate development driven by population, wealth…
Evaluate agriculture uses driven by crop returns vis a vis farm policies
Evaluate how forest uses are driven by timber demand, recreation, and programs
As landowners get smaller income from recreation, other values may become more attractive than trees
Evaluate demand driven by wood products, changing products, global trade
Evaluate changes in Technology, products, timber growing
Consider new markets for bioenergy
Evaluate drivers, such as subsidies, which may encourage short rotation forestry
What is the FS going to do? Manage resources, sell timber, or what?
Futures Project should look at a forest conversion scenario due to bioenergy policies
Consider conversion of Delta farmland to hardwood forests (due to carbon credit incentive)
Will conversion of ag to forests support future industry in those areas?
Big changes by new landowners (TIMOs) may shape markets
Will markets for cellulosic energy impact markets for wood fiber?
Evaluate policies that direct how timberland is managed
Evaluate government meddling in open markets
Could high/more utilization lead to reduced site productivity?
Consider that biofuels, carbon sequestration have conflicting goals (high utilization vs. no/low utilization)
How are lands to be managed by TIMOs and REITs in the future?
Competition for current products will increase
Many buildings no longer utilize local products (bamboo floors)
Certification, LEED standards may hamper use of local products
All forest lands may need to be certified to get into markets
Taxation of TIMO/REITs may dictate future of how these lands are managed
REIT's/TIMOs have need to show short term incomes and may affect long-term productivity
Assess the many unknowns with REITs/TIMOs
Landowners look more at short-term investments
Evaluate fragmentation of ownership and land use. These are important factors (include parcelization)
Evaluate how reduction in demand for wood products can/will affect forest health
Policy is a huge (60%+) of needs to be addressed (management, taxation, farm bill progress)
What has driven us to the position we are in (declining forest ownership)
AR & Midsouth very dependant on solid wood products (more of a lumber vs. chipped wood fiber area)
Recognize wood as THE renewable resource
Smaller land ownerships may mean less forest management. Could effect forest use, biodiversity, etc.
Ecosystem service delivery is reduced with small land owners. More roads and infrastructure
Food prices will dictate land use
Competition from international markets may encourage agricultural production at home
Value of forests in urban and suburban areas will be more for ecological services than for wood products
Policy may need to be changed to recognize that the clear line between forestry and traditional agriculture has blurred with short rotation woody crops
Mid South may have development pressures although not as much as in some regions
We will see harvest of timber at younger age as technology and use moves forward
Much of future development in Ouchitas will be adjacent to NF land. How will this affect management?
Multiple use management is decreasing on private lands (single use) and this trend may eventually pressure a similar pattern on NFs
Coastal plains have two prevalent uses: timber and hunting
Harder to predict how much wood on market in the future—assess FIA availability
Major population water needs may/will take lands out of timber production permanently
General utilities to support large urban areas will take more forestlands out of production
Value of timber (ST and PW) is not keeping up with or equal to value of water
Biological
  Consider insects, diseases, pathogens
Consider invasive species: Callery pear, Privet, Mimosa, Sawtooth Oak, Chinese tallow tree, Emerald Ash Borer, Feral hogs, Kudzu
Consider Endangered Species, individual organisms, habitat issues
Consider river dynamics
Evaluate Fire- Scale
Consider forest composition changes (natural vs. unnatural)
Assess Red Oak Borer– spp composition change due to climate change or other factors
Assess insect outbreaks: disposition for both native spp. & exotics
Consider that the right bacteria for cellulosic ethanol & right species could lead to spp. preferences
How is wood product quality affected by changes in species, growth rates?
Evaluate impacts of less intensive management
Globalization increase enhances of exotic spp. introductions – (fire ants)
Biodiversity is special to this region. Consider regulation of animal populations (e.g. beavers, rodents) with changing environment
Physical
  Consider climate change. How it affects tree growth, stand structure changes, alters biodiversity, converted to other cover types, Spp change influences silviculture
Consider Climate change and the impacts of fragmentation. Increased chance of wildfire/ increased severity, more regulations, less controlled fire, more vulnerable to SPB, more risk of fire loss
Proximity means we're more susceptible to climate change. Consider groundwater depletion, longer growing season (early, mid, late), favors spp. Different ppt. patterns – more extreme events?
Consider extreme weather events. Severity/magnitude (123 mile long tornado?). Predictability. Forest Health .Replace destroyed forest with what? Contingencies for severe events. More limited options
Consider air pollution
Consider fire regimes
Evaluate how past events shape our present and future
Evaluate water availability related to ag vs. forest cover. Increase forests as water decreases. Water quality better with forests
Consider that planting exotic trees spp. is much different than natives
Consider groundwater depletion and surface water/runoff
Assess tree species selection. Genetics. Long-term crop climate change issue. Shorter rotation vs. long