Laws Supporting Forest Ownership

United States property ownership laws take their beginnings from pre-colonial English laws governing the rights of ownership and rights legal transfer of property and attached “chattel,” such as timber. These laws established the foundation of property laws for the colonies eventually evolving into property laws of the United States.  

The charters and patents that conveyed legislative power to the colonies generally included provisos either prohibiting colonial legislatures from making laws "repugnant to" the laws of England or requiring that the enacted laws be "not contrary to but as near as conveniently may be made agreeable to the Laws, Statutes & Government of this Our Realm of England."

Upon cessation from England and the formal establish of the United States, the US Congress built into the US Constitution the rights of property ownership, transfer and the Federal government’s obligation to protect them. The Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution prevents any person from being “deprived of . . . property, without due process of law”… and (2) requires compensation when “property [is] taken for public use.”

Building on top of these Federal guarantees are the additional layers of rights of ownership and protection under State jurisdiction. Together these rights are commonly referred to a citizen's “bundle of rights."