Timberland Ownership

Tue, 11/08/2011 - 08:38 -- cadoughe

Forests have strongly shaped the landscape of Western North Carolina. Wood has been vital for subsistence and commerce for many generations. Practically all of the region’s forests have been harvested at least once since the mid-1800’s, and a timber industry exists here today.

Western North Carolina has 3.2 million acres of timberland, which is defined as forestland capable of producing 20 cubic feet of industrial wood per acre per year and not withdrawn from timber utilization. Approximately 2.4 million acres (74 percent of timberland) is owned by industrial and non-industrial private landowners. The remaining 862,628 acres (26 percent of timberland) is in public ownership. The public ownership is primarily national forestland with small parcels of other federal, state, county, and municipal lands.

Timber Production

Timber production

While some land conveyances have occurred in the past 22 years, notably acquisitions of 6,400 acres in the Pisgah National Forest and 9,300 acres in the Nantahala National Forest, as well as over 3,000 acres in the Rendezvous State Forest and 10,400 acres in the Dupont State Forest, the percentages of private and publicly-owned timberland has essentially remained the same. The Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests represent the region’s majority of publicly-owned timberland. In fact, national forest timberland is found in all but two of the counties in Western North Carolina. Moreover, approximately 60 percent of Clay, Graham, and Macon counties are designated national forest timberlands.

Forest productivity depends on many factors, including natural conditions (such as climate, soils, elevation, aspect, and latitude) and timber management, which influence timber stocking levels, forest health, and species mix. While the effects of natural conditions are seen across all ownerships, land management strategies tend to be applied differently on public and private lands.

Land Management

Land management

While some land conveyances have occurred in the past 22 years, notably acquisitions of 6,400 acres in the Pisgah National Forest and 9,300 acres in the Nantahala National Forest, as well as over 3,000 acres in the Rendezvous State Forest and 10,400 acres in the Dupont State Forest, the percentages of private and publicly-owned timberland has essentially remained the same. The Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests represent the region’s majority of publicly-owned timberland. In fact, national forest timberland is found in all but two of the counties in Western North Carolina. Moreover, approximately 60 percent of Clay, Graham, and Macon counties are designated national forest timberlands.

Forest productivity depends on many factors, including natural conditions (such as climate, soils, elevation, aspect, and latitude) and timber management, which influence timber stocking levels, forest health, and species mix. While the effects of natural conditions are seen across all ownerships, land management strategies tend to be applied differently on public and private lands.