Forest & Woodlands Management


Approximately 86% of the South’s forestland is privately-owned, making it the nation’s stronghold for private forestland ownership.

The South has more than 245 million acres of forestland with some of the most diverse and productive ecosystems in the world. Southern state forestry agencies work primarily with family forest owners on private forest land.

Forest and woodland owners understand that sustainable forest management and climate-smart forestry practices are vital. By maintaining healthy forests, landowners are also protecting air, water, habitat, natural beauty, community health and more – all while safeguarding the long-term economic viability of their lands.

Landowner Objectives

Why southerners own their woods

Southern state forestry agencies give technical guidance to landowners on how to manage their forests and woodlands, based on what’s important to them.

The top five objectives identified by landowners in the Southeast include:

  1. Beauty or scenery
  2. Wildlife habitat
  3. Privacy
  4. Nature protection
  5. Water protection

Other priority objectives include family legacy, land investment, hunting, recreation and timber products.

Local Assistance

Managing the Long-Game

Sustainable working forests

Working forest owners manage for the long-game – replanting and growing back the same amount that was harvested (or more) every year, in perpetuity.

Working forests are timberlands, mostly privately owned in the United States, which are actively managed for multiple uses. These privately-owned forests support the production of renewable products like lumber, paper products, bio-energy and thousands of consumer goods and other everyday items.

According to the National Alliance of Forest Owners, private forest owners regenerate an average of 43% more wood than they harvest. By maintaining healthy working forests, landowners also protect air, water, habitat, natural beauty, community health and more.

Forest Taxation

Encouraging timber growth and reforestation

Recognizing that growing timber is a long-term, often high-risk investment, the federal government offers tax incentives to private, non-industrial landowners to encourage them to grow timber and reforest lands after timber harvest.

The reforestation tax credit and amortization provisions are one of the few long-term incentives available to landowners for growing trees.

Timber Tax Resources

Forest Management Support Programs

Conservation Easements

Cost-share Programs

Forest Certification Programs

Forest Health Concerns

Tackling forest health threats

The spread of forest pests, diseases and invasive species persistently threatens the health and survival of southern forests.

Forest insects account for 20% of the total negative growth impact on forest trees, while diseases account for 45%. Among significant non-native insects and diseases established in the South are the hemlock woolly adelgid, spongy moth, emerald ash borer, laurel wilt disease and Asian longhorned beetle. Monitoring and suppression are important tools for preventing and managing these pests.

State forestry agencies work directly with private landowners to educate them about ongoing and evolving forest health threats, while helping them develop plans to manage for and prevent outbreaks. By engaging with landowners, we are better equipped to find and stop threats before they spread.

Learn More


Keeping Forests

Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP)

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

Southern Pine Beetle Prevention Program

SGSF Forest Certification Programs

Don’t Move Firewood

The Southern Forest Futures Project

Planning for the Future of Southern Forests


Healthy Trees, Healthy Lives

The Forest Water Relationship

Visit My Forest