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.
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.