• seneca creek

I: U.S. hardwood producers ensure forest ecosystem functions and services are maintained and conserved

Key points 

  • The U.S. hardwood resource is sustainable over the long-term. 

  • U.S. hardwood inputs are managed in a manner that protects soil quality and productivity. 

  • State and private activities and programs help ensure that exceptional and high conservation value ecosystems and associated wildlife habitats are protected. 

  • Forest residual slash and debris is managed to maintain long-term site productivity and avoid impacts to other resource values. 

  • Surface and groundwater quality is protected and impacts are minimized. 

  • Air quality is not adversely impacted by prescribed burning and other forest management activities. 

  • Forest chemicals are applied in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, consistent with the principles of integrated pest management (IPM). 

Key facts 

  • The infrastructure of laws and regulations, Best Management Practices (BMP) implementation, logger training, state-level forest and wildlife action plans and private conservation efforts provide a community-wide assurance of forest conservation. 

  • State forest resource assessments and action plans guide the allocation of federal funding, as well as public and private partnerships to manage and conserve the forest land base. 

  • State wildlife agencies have developed Wildlife Action Plans to address the priority challenges to wildlife and biodiversity and to help ensure that species and communities are not threatened. 

  • Best Management Practices address the protection of soils from erosion, compaction and disturbance. BMP compliance is consistently high (90+ percent) across the hardwood regions. 

  • A high percentage of wood deliveries are from loggers that are trained in BMPs, worker safety, wildlife & biodiversity and the protection of soil and water. 

  • The National Association of State Foresters publishes information on State BMPs, e.g.: https://stateforesters.org/sites/default/files/issues-and-policies-document-attachments/Protecting_Water_Quality_through_State_Forestry_BMPs_FINAL.pdf   

  • BMP implementation surveys in 32 states between 2005 and 2013 show an average forestry BMP implementation rate of 91% (NASF, 2015) Implementation rates for forest road BMPs averaged 91.5% and stream crossing BMPs averaged 86.7% (NASF, 2015). 

  • The NASF survey also found that forest road BMP implementation rates do not vary significantly based upon whether the state program is regulatory, quasi-regulatory, or non-regulatory. 

  • The 2012 Southern Region Report published by the Southern Group of State Foresters (SGSF) found forest road BMP implementation rates for the 11 southern states range from 78-99% with an average of 88%. 

  • The National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI) has reported high levels of compliance with water quality laws and BMP requirements across the U.S..  

  • The State Forestry BMP Manuals and periodic BMP Monitoring Reports are accessible online from each state forestry agency and through the National Association of State Foresters (NASF). 

  • The U.S. Protected Area Database contains information about protected lands: https://gapanalysis.usgs.gov/padus/ 

  • BMPs help ensure that slash and debris is kept out of streams. BMPs specify the removal of garbage and other wastes from logging sites. 

  • State and local smoke management regulations and programs protect air quality that may be impacted by forest management: https://www.bugwood.org/pfire/smoke.cfm  

  • Chemicals applications are strictly regulated; trained and licensed applicators must be used. 

  • Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) governed by the U.S. EPA governs forest chemical registration and use: http://www.epa.gov/agriculture/lfra.html  

  • State BMP Manuals address the application of chemicals and prescribe best practices to minimize impacts to water quality. 


Seneca Creek 2017 Assessment, Section 3: The US hardwood sector has not been specifically targeted by environmental campaigns and the FIA data show favorable sustainability conditions overall regarding US hardwood supply. 

Seneca Creek 2017 Assessment: Section 4: Based on the most current data available from four independent federal agencies tasked with monitoring of the nation’s natural resources, we can conclude that bottomland hardwood forests have been stable or increasing in areal extent in the past decade. 

Seneca Creek 2017 Assessment: Section 8: The available data suggest that states in the hardwood region are diligent about enforcing regulations where they apply, proactive in encouraging and monitoring BMPs, and attentive to identifying and acting on priority forestry issues. The wide acceptance and implementation of BMPs contribute to the Study Team's finding that there is a very low to negligible risk that forestry activities adversely affect water quality and associated beneficial uses. 

Seneca Creek 2017 Assessment: Section 9: Conservation efforts by private organizations, often in partnership with government agencies and/or forest landowners, have increased in scale and importance.  

Seneca Creek 2017 Assessment Finding 3: The United States has, through the U.S. Forest Service Forest Inventory & Analysis (FIA) Program, one of the most comprehensive and continuous inventories of forest resources in the world. The FIA enables annual monitoring and early detection of forest sustainability issues. Growth-to-removals ratios by state range from 1.3 to 12.9, strongly evidencing that there is virtually no risk from a national or state perspective that U.S. hardwoods are being harvested at a rate that is problematic from a sustained yield perspective. [Section 3] 

Seneca Creek 2017 Assessment Finding 20: A safety-net of federal and state laws and regulations, resource assessments and forest and wildlife action plans, Best Management Practices (BMPs), professional logger training, forest health monitoring and protection, conservation programs, technical assistance, outreach and cost-share incentive programs, are effective in assisting family forest owners in achieving legal and regulatory compliance, broadening the professionalism of forest workers and promoting sustainable forestry practices. Overall, federal and state forest programs contribute to ensuring sustainable and legal hardwood supplies. [Sections 8, 9]   

Seneca Creek 2017 Assessment Finding 27: Comprehensive state level BMP monitoring evidences a high level of compliance with both regulatory and voluntary Best Management Practices (BMPs) to protect water quality and other beneficial uses of the nation's streams, lakes, waterbodies and wetlands. [Section 8] 

Seneca Creek 2017 Assessment Finding 30: Pursuant to the 2010 amendments to the U.S. Food Security Act (Farm Bill), each state in the hardwood region has conducted a state-wide forest resource assessment and developed action plans to address forest sustainability challenges. The action plans provide for coordinated implementation of conservation efforts by both the public and private sectors. [Section 8] 

Seneca Creek 2017 Assessment Finding 31: Each state has developed a Wildlife Action Plan to conserve and protect habitat and wildlife species and to keep species of concern from becoming threatened. These Action Plans facilitate coordination between agencies, conservation organizations, landowners and the forest industry for species recovery and habitat protection. [Section 8] 

Seneca Creek 2017 Assessment Finding 32: The role played by private sector conservation organizations has grown significantly in importance since 2008. Examples include the creation of The Conservation Fund’s Working Forest Fund® and The Nature Conservancy’s Working Woodlands initiative. Increasingly, private sector conservation organizations are aligning their interests with those of the state and federal agencies that are focused on protecting the most threatened forest types and the species that rely on them. These organizations are providing input to the State Forest Resource Assessments and State Wildlife Action Plans, and many of the traditional public funding sources available for conservation require that projects align with the objectives from these plans. [Section 9]