Market Access and Forest Stewardship: How Sustainability Certification and Renewable Biomass Mandates Threaten Nonindustrial Private Forests
Nonindustrial Private Forests
Nonindustrial private forests or “NIPFs” are unlike public or industrial forests. Most of these forests are small, family owned, and timber-producing. In terms of size, 95 percent cover less than 100 acres, and 60 percent cover less than 10 acres.7 Due to parcelization, the number of NIPF owners has increased in recent decades, while the average tract size has shrunk.8 Nonetheless, at 360 million cumulative acres, nonindustrial private forests constitute a significant portion. of the nation’s undeveloped land.
Figure 1: Forest Ownership in the United States
Source: U.S. Forest Service9
Most nonindustrial private forests are family owned. Title to 250 million acres,. or 70 percent of all NIPFs, is held by individuals, married couples, or family estates and trusts.10 These family owned forests tend to pass from generation to generation. Those that are not family owned are held by partnerships, tribes, .and corporations.