More than 56 percent of the United States forests are privately-owned, much of it by family forest owners. These family forest owners choose to manage their lands responsibly, but most do not participate in a forest certification program for various reasons, including costs and land management objectives. The 13 percent of United States forests that are certified are largely privately held by corporate entities.
Reasons for Owning Forests Vary
Family forest owners have many reasons for owning timberland, including beauty and scenery, protection of nature and biodiversity, family heritage and legacy, investment, hunting and fishing. Timber production is not a top priority for many family forest owners; however, those who are actively managing their forests often seek help from foresters who support the practice of sustainable forestry.
Sustainability and Legality
One proof of the success of sustainable forest management is forest coverage in the United States. For the past 100 years, total forest area has been stable, and actually grew by 2 million acres from 2000 to 2005. In the United States, the free market economy, private property ownership and a strong rule of law have created an environment where forests are responsibly and sustainably managed, and illegal logging is not an issue.