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Individual Highlight

Policy, Law, and Governance Continue to Evolve to Support Forest Conservation and Sustainable Management in the United States.

Photo of A conservation easement -- a policy instrument used for protecting ecosystem services on private lands, that is held by Conservation Trust for North Carolina protects forest streams in a North Carolina forest.   A conservation easement -- a policy instrument used for protecting ecosystem services on private lands, that is held by Conservation Trust for North Carolina protects forest streams in a North Carolina forest.  Snapshot : Policies, laws, and other institutional factors can provide enabling conditions or barriers to forest sustainability. A recent assessment of the nation’s legal and institutional framework on forests used the Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators framework to examine forest-related policy, legislation, taxation, incentives, programs, services, partnerships, and research and development. Assessment results and outputs are an important contribution to U.S. efforts to track progress on forest sustainability at national and subnational levels.

Principal Investigators(s) :
McGinley, Kathleen 
Research Location : National-level
Research Station : International Institute of Tropical Forestry (IITF)
Year : 2020
Highlight ID : 1680

Summary

A broad range of policies, laws, economic instruments, and governance approaches have been developed and adapted at national to local levels to support forests on public and private lands in the United States. Federal, state, and local laws govern public lands, including about one-third of the nation’s forest area. These laws dictate protection, management, and public input and involvement. Federal and state laws also protect wildlife and endangered species on public and private lands and provide various levels of forest practices regulation or best management practices to protect water quality, air quality, and other public goods. Laws and policies at all governmental levels also provide for technical and financial assistance, research, education, and planning on private forest lands, but do not prescribe specific actions or standards for privately owned forest lands. Relatively newer market-based mechanisms, including forest certification, wetland banks, payments for environmental services, and conservation easements increasingly are used to promote and implement sustainable forest management throughout the United States, though fiscal support for these measures may be affected by budget pressures and broader economic conditions. Increasingly, cross-sectoral policies and programs are being developed that link forest-related and cross-boundary policy networks, purposes, and outcomes. Although the legal and institutional framework for promoting forest sustainability continues to evolve in the United States, challenges in forest protection and sustainability persist, particularly where incentives for sustainable forest management are low and pressures for alternate land uses are high.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Frederick W. Cubbage - North Carolina State University