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Timber Harvesting and Flooding: Emerging Legal Risks and Potential Mitigations

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The relationship between timber harvesting in steep terrain and natural calamities such as flooding has recently coalesced as extensive litigation in West Virginia. Accusations that timber harvesting was responsible for widespread flooding includes novel uses of the legal theories of negligence per se and strict liability. Managing for increases in water yield, application of best management practices (BMP), and predictability of flooding events all play a role in whether timber operations are ultimately susceptible to liability for flooding events. The authors suggest that recent legal actions and difficulties in predicting the outcomes of such lawsuits necessitates a fundamental review of best management practice design and implementation. Consideration of water quantity BMP may be warranted. South. J. Appl. For. 28(2):69–75.

Keywords: Flooding; best management practices; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; lawsuit; liability; logging; natural resource management; natural resources

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Forestry Virginia Tech Blacksburg VA 24061, Email: 2: Department of Forestry Virginia Tech Blacksburg VA 24061

Publication date: May 1, 2004

More about this publication?
  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Southern Journal of Applied Forestry covers an area from Virginia and Kentucky south to as far west as Oklahoma and east Texas.
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