Project News

Stories written by WRI staff that highlight recent news and information related to southern forests.

Conservation Easements: A Good Investment For The U.S. South

By Logan Yonavjak and Nick Price

What Woodland Owners Should Know About Forest Carbon Offsets In The U.S. South

By Logan Yonavjak and John Talberth

A new issue brief, released today by the World Resources Institute and the Pacific Forest Trust provides an introduction to economic opportunities for southern landowners created by emerging forest carbon offset markets. This new revenue stream can offer real rewards to landowners who steward their forests for climate benefits.

Development Encroaches on the Southern United States’ Last “Wild” Areas

As a result of rapid development over the last 40 years, the vast majority of land in the southern U.S. has been in some way impacted by humans. Today, only a small amount of land remains in a relatively natural, or “wild”, state.

In order to visualize the full extent of human activity in the southern U.S., the Wilderness Society produced a map that reflects the relative “wildness” of ecosystems in the region.

Southern Forests Essay Competition: Winning Essays

We're proud to present the winners of the first ever Southern Forests for the Future essay contest! With support from Toyota, we asked 9-12th grade students from all over the southern U.S. to answer one of three questions: why is it important to conserve southern U.S. forests, what is threatening the health or extent of southern U.S. forests where you live, and what is a possible solution to help conserve and sustainably manage southern U.S. forests for the future.

After reviewing all of the entrants, here are the winning essays!

Property Tax Incentives for Forest Conservation in the U.S. South

By John Talberth and Logan Yonavjak

Current use valuation programs can encourage landowners to resist development pressures and leave forest as forest.

Development pressure on the outskirts of cities throughout the southern United States drives up land values and makes it more difficult for private landowners to keep their forestland. On average, in the South, short term returns for development can be $36,000 per acre. And for private landowners who want to keep their forest, rising property taxes can also provide a perverse incentive, because as the fair market value of the land increases, property tax bills rise. To help pay these increased taxes many landowners often resort to selling at least a portion of their lands despite their intention to keep their forests intact.

Public Ballot Measures Unlock Billions of Dollars for Conservation Nationwide

A new WRI report explores what makes public ballot measures successful and how they can help conserve forests in the U.S. South.

Public conservation ballot measures are a means to secure citizen approval to raise public funds for conservation. They allow people to vote at the state or local level to approve new public funding—from bonds, taxes, lottery proceeds, or other sources—to dedicate to the conservation of natural landscapes, bodies of water, and/or farmland.

Online Survey of Southern Woodland Owners

The World Resources Institute and our partners working on forestry issues in your state are eager to hear from you on a number of important issues related to management of small family woodlands. We recently launched an online survey for Southern woodland owners about issues related to management of small family forests.

“Working Forests” – How Land Protection Can Save and Even Make Money

Public support remains high for land conservation, even in the challenging state of today’s economy. However, since it is becoming increasingly difficult to add conservation expenses to public budgets, states, counties and municipalities can benefit from creating “working forests” that save and even make them money.

Protecting Forests to Protect Water in the U.S. South

Investments in forest conservation can save money on providing clean water.

Clean water doesn’t come cheap. Communities and businesses often rely on expensive water filtration infrastructure to ensure their clean water supplies. But what if they could save money by protecting upstream forests instead of building new, costly water treatment infrastructure?

Beyond Timber: New Economic Opportunities for Southern U.S. Forests

Stretching more than 200 million acres from Texas to Virginia and from Kentucky to Florida, the forests of the southern United States provide billions of dollars worth of timber and other forest products each year as well as hundreds of thousands of jobs in the region. Though they comprise just two percent of the planet’s forest cover, they generate more pulp for paper by volume than any nation outside the United States. They also control erosion, ensure clean supplies of freshwater, and offer numerous hunting, hiking, and other recreational opportunities.

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