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6/26/2018 » 6/29/2018
2018 National Conference of Private Forest Landowners

6/18/2019 » 6/21/2019
2019 National Conference of Private Forest Landowners


FLA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Host Forest Forum
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FLA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Host Forest Forum

By FLA Staff

The Forest Landowners Association (FLA), together with the representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) held a Forest Forum on Thursday, November 10th at Auburn University’s School of Forestry Dixon Center in Andalusia, Alabama to discuss the Endangered Species Act (ESA), its impact on private forest landowners and strategies to increase cooperation between private forest landowners and the agency.

“Communication is the key to understanding that private forest landowners and the Service share the same value of healthy forests,” said FLA President Scott Rowland, “By forging relationships through Forest Forums we can avoid unintended consequences of unnecessary regulation created by a lack of understanding of how private forests are managed."

The Forest Forum offered both groups an opportunity to share their long term goals and identify areas of overlap that can be built upon to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. During the forum the USFWS walked private landowners through the process mandated by law it takes before, during and after a species has been proposed for protection under the ESA.

“Engaging with private forest landowners is important because this job is too big for our agency to accomplish alone,” said Bill Pearson Field Supervisor, Alabama office of USFWS. “Listing a species is really a failure for us and we want to work with landowners to align their objectives to achieve mutual success."

Barrett McCall, President of Larson & McGowin a forest management consultancy said, "Private forest landowners have been facing headwinds for a decade in the form of changing dynamics in the timber market. Decreasing demand for forest products and the loss of markets result in declining prices that create an economic decision to grow timber on shorter rotations. This can result in a decline in habitat for species that depend on larger timber and for the landowner less capital to invest back into the property which results in less management.” McCall went on to applaud both the FLA and the USFWS for promoting continued dialogue between the two constituencies.

Pearson concluded the event by underscoring the vital role that private forest landowners play in the agency’s mission of species protection and habitat conservation. “Our biggest fear is that we would have to make a listing decision with insufficient information.  Trust is the key so we can work with landowners to gather the information necessary to make the right decision,” he said.






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