Woodland Benefits at Risk from Poor Management Practices
Kansas Forest Service urges woodland owners to provide better care with financial assistance programs.
MANHATTAN, Kan. – According to the latest National Woodland Owners Survey, 23 million people own 283 million acres of woodlands in the U.S. The lack of proper management from most, or an estimated 21 million of these woodland owners, has put the benefits provided by these woodlands at risk.
“This holds true for the more than 100,000 private woodland owners in Kansas,” said Bob Atchison, a Kansas State University forester for the Kansas Forest Service. “Even though there is a much smaller area of woodlands in Kansas compared to other states, the trees still provide important benefits like clean air and water, carbon storage, outdoor recreation, wildlife habitat and timber products.”
Atchison said the effects of this mismanagement are being experienced first-hand in Kansas with the expansion of invasive species of plants and insects like bush honeysuckle, emerald ash borer and Osage orange. Drought, storms and wildfire are also taking their toll on the resource.
The survey also indicated that few woodland owners were aware of programs available to help them conserve and improve the health of their woodlands.
“Three-quarters of those surveyed were unaware of financial assistance programs like the Environmental Quality Incentive Program,” said Atchison, “which is able to cover up to 75 percent of the costs for planting trees, managing woodlands or renovating old windbreaks.”
The Kansas Forest Service is taking action to address this issue in partnership with the Kansas Tree Farm Program. The Kansas Tree Farm Program actively engages Kansas woodland owners to manage their woodlands through thoughtful planning and by putting landowners in touch with Kansas State University foresters who provide management advice through on-site visits.
Kansas woodland owners also are encouraged to check out online tools to help them manage their woodlands and create their own plans, such as MyLandPlan.org and Forestasyst.org.
For more information about Kansas woodlands or the conservation programs developed to help restore them, contact the Kansas Forest Service by phone at (785) 532-3310 or online at Kansas Forest Service.
K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.
Story by: Kaitlin Morganknmorgan@ksu.edu K-State Research & Extension News
Bob Atchison – firstname.lastname@example.org or 785-532-3310