What is the Forest Stewardship Program?
The Forest Stewardship Program (FSP) is a forest management program that offers private woodland owners guidance and financial assistance to protect and improve the timber, wildlife, soils, water, recreation, and aesthetic values of their forest. In each state, the program is administered trough a State Stewardship Coordinating Committee made up of representatives from federal, state and private natural resource agencies, environmental organizations, forest landowners, and industry. FSP funding originates with the USDA Forest Service, State & Private Forestry and is passed to a State agency for distribution to landowners. In West Virginia the Division of Forestry manages the FSP.
The Woodland Owners Association of West Virginia, Inc., (WOA) is a nonprofit membership organization started and continues to be operated exclusively by independent West Virginia woodland owners. The association is open to anyone interested in improving privately owned West Virginia forest land. WOA's primary goal is to help West Virginia forest landowners attain the best returns from their woodland ownership and maintain a healthy, productive and beautiful forest.
Case Studies Introduction:
The United States Department of Agriculture and Forest Service (USDA & FS) have invested a lot of time and effort over the last decade and a half to promote land stewardship among private forest landowners, especially the Non-Industrial Private Forest (NIPF) owners. Providing incentive programs for private forest owners to manage their land actively and continually is critical for the continued reproduction, growth, survival, use and sustainment of biological diversity and forest resources.
However, what about the private forest owners that participate in these programs and those we are encouraging to do so? What is their view on these forest management incentive programs and methods? What do they think?
With those critical questions in mind, the West Virginia University and West Virginia State Divisions of Forestry set out in mid 1998 and again in 2006 to get a reality check. In this collection of case studies, a half of dozen landowners from across West Virginia with widely varying perspectives tell the story of their individual forays into the world of forestry incentive programs and activities. They explained what worked well and what did not, and what kind of improvements they would recommend.
WVU Extension Service educators and volunteers build and help sustain collaborations and partnerships with people and organizations in West Virginia to improve their lives and communities. WVU-ES programs and services strengthen leaders of all ages, youth, and families and teach best practices for sustainable agriculture, for responsible use of renewable resources, and for stewardship of natural resources. WVU-ES offers a number of on-line publications related to forest management that can be viewed at: http://www.wvu.edu/~agexten/forestry/forestry.htm.
The West Virginia Forestry Association is a non-profit organization funded by its membership. Members include individuals and businesses involved in forest management, timber production, and wood product manufacturing. Members are concerned with protecting the environment, as well as enhancing the future of West Virginia's forests through multiple-use management. WVFA encourages and promotes sustainable forest management, improved fire protection and suppression, true conservation of woodland resources in West Virginia.
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers and manages farm commodity, credit, conservation, disaster, and loan programs as laid out by Congress through a network of federal, state and county offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of the agricultural industry and to help farmers adjust production to meet demand. FSA manages the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).