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Forest ownership and management outcomes in the U.S., in global context

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Land is of critical importance for provision of wood and nonwood forest products and environmental services. Ownership is a key factor influencing forest land management and protection. Most forests in the world, 86, are in public ownership which accounts for a commensurate share of forest degradation. U.S. forest land ownership is dominated by private owners, and this has largely worked well for production and for provision of environmental services. International comparisons of forest land ownership and corresponding management outcomes indicate that private forests provide proportionally more market based goods such as wood, and that their environmental performance in terms of forest management plans, forest certification, and compliance with forest regulations appears to be similar to that of public forests. In fact, private lands have increased environmental conformance with regulations and adopted forest certification for many high production lands. Both public and private lands should more closely link tenure rights and conservation and management control. Government ownership and incentives must evolve for both private and public lands to produce forest goods and services more efficiently and equitably.
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Keywords: global forest resources; land ownership; private lands; public lands; sustainable forest management

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA; North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA; SUNY-ESF, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA and University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA.

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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