If you are an Arkansas landowner with more than 10 acres of forested property, the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM) and the UA System Division of Agriculture (UADA) wants to hear from you. Dr. Nana Tian, Assistant Professor with the UAM College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources and the UADA Forest Resources Center is researching the number of landowners who are participants in one of three forest certification programs. The 30-question survey asks landowners about their familiarity with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the American Tree Farm System (ATFS), and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).
In early November, Tian mailed more than five-thousand surveys to forestland property owners and managers. She is trying to gauge the number of Arkansas landowners who participate in land management practices. If so, are they part of three recognized forest certification programs?
“Understanding private landowners’ attitudes, perspectives, and interests in adopting a forest management certification program plays a significant role for achieving sustainable forest management. This information will be important to forest policy makers and forest certification institutions in promoting forest certification and sustainability in Arkansas”, said Tian.
“From this project, we aim to have a better understanding of landowners’ opinions and perspectives towards forest certification and explore the opportunities and constraints that private landowners are facing in participating in certification schemes”, said Tian.
Arkansas has nearly 19 million acres of forest. Approximately 345,000 non-industrial private landowners own nearly 60 percent of those forests. Forest industry and corporations control almost one-quarter of the Arkansas forests. The National Forest makes up nearly 14 percent of the state’s forestland. When it comes to forestry products and timber production, Arkansas is nationally ranked as number six in forestry products valued at over $6.5 billion.
Forest certification is a globally implemented, voluntary program to ensure that forest products originate from land managed with a goal of sustainability. Certified forests not only produce timber, but sustain the ecological, economic, recreational, and social value of a forest. Each certification program has its methods and definitions of best forest management practices. Certifications provide a variety of benefits not only to society but the landowners. Some of those benefits include:
- Healthier forests
- Greater access to markets
- Premium prices for some buyers
- Less waste
- Personal and community pride in knowing the forest will be managed
- Better environmental practices
- Better long-term management planning
- Recognition among industry peers
- Safer worker environment.
If you didn’t receive the survey in the mail and would like to participate, the survey is available online at: https://uark.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cGxPfs1grjAyvAN
Dr. Tian says Landowners do not have to be familiar with any of the certification programs to participate in the survey. For more information, contact the College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources at (870) 460-1052.
About the College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Arkansas Forest Resources Center
The College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Arkansas Forest Resources Center, a University of Arkansas System Center of Excellence, bring together interdisciplinary expertise through a partnership between the University of Arkansas at Monticello and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. The College and Center are headquartered at the University of Arkansas at Monticello campus, but their programs range statewide with the mission of developing and delivering teaching, research and extension programs that enhance and ensure the sustainability and productivity of forest-based natural resources and agricultural systems. Academic programs are delivered by the College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources through the University of Arkansas at Monticello. Through the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, research is administered by the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, and extension and outreach activities are coordinated by the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.
The University of Arkansas at Monticello and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offer all of their programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and are Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employers.