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Washington State's Forest Regulations: Family Forest Owners' Understanding and Opinions

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Washington State has one of the most restrictive sets of Forest Practice Rules (FPR) in the United States. In 1974, the Washington State legislature passed the Forest Practice Act, with the intent of improving environmental conditions by regulating forest practices such as road building, harvesting methods, and the use of chemicals. We found that a knowledge gap exists within the private forest landowner community in Washington State with regards to some state and federal environmental regulations. The larger-acreage landowners with longer ownership tenures were more familiar with forest regulations than were the newer smaller-acreage landowners, based on a survey conducted in 2002. Regardless of regulation familiarity, a substantial number of respondents expressed concern over the limits placed on their ability to manage their lands as they see fit. This sentiment does not seem to arise purely from the potential for economic loss, because timber does not appear to be an important component of respondent incomes. Rather, the loss of management control and government restrictions placed on private property rights may be more significant. Agencies responsible for enforcing these regulations need to recognize that changes are taking place in the greater forest landowner community, and that the approaches of the past may no longer be appropriate for the future. West. J. Appl. For. 20(3):192–198.

Keywords: Endangered Species Act; Family forests; Forests and Fish Agreement; Washington Forest Practice Law; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Natural Resource Sciences Washington State University Pullman WA 99164-6410 Phone: (509)335-2877, Email: 2: Department of Natural Resource Sciences Washington State University Pullman WA 99164-6410

Publication date: 2005-07-01

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  • 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 Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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