Ensuring the sustainability of North Carolina’s forests
From the mountains to the coast, North Carolina is fortunate to have rich and diverse forest resources. Forests are the dominant land use in North Carolina, and the forest industry in our state is a robust economic engine ensuring jobs for thousands of our citizens. This updated 2020 North Carolina Forest Action Plan is a thorough review of North Carolina’s forests, with a focus on changes and trends that have occurred since North Carolina’s initial Forest Action Plan.
Driven by the need to efficiently target our collective efforts and resources, the 2020 North Carolina Forest Action Plan represents a clear path for conserving, protecting, and enhancing North Carolina’s forest resources and the many benefits we enjoy from them. While the mandate for this critical assessment originated in the 2008 Farm Bill under the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act, its origins are deeply seated in a public that demands increased impact, accountability, and innovation from its agencies. With that challenge as our goal, a committed group of staff, partners, and sister agency personnel collaborated to make this Forest Action Plan a reality.
Increase the sustainable management and conservation of forest lands
In 2018, the forestry sector was the top employer among manufacturing sectors in the state, directly generating approximately $274.2 million in state and local taxes and $850.4 million in federal taxes. Currently, North Carolina’s forests are being managed sustainably with growth significantly exceeding harvest across many geographical regions of the state. Conservation, restoration, and appropriate management of North Carolina’s forest resources are important to ensure the long-term sustainability and value of terrestrial and aquatic species populations and habitats. However, invasive species, diseases, insects, and climate change present an ongoing and unpredictable threat to future forest productivity and habitats. Additional outreach and education are needed to increase public awareness and involvement in conservation programs aimed at sustaining priority forest, aquatic, and wildlife habitat.
Protect North Carolina’s forest from wildfire, insects, and disease
Population increases in North Carolina’s wildland urban interface (WUI) areas and a decrease in firefighting capacity continue to create significant challenges for firefighters and residents. Major forest pests and nonnative invasive (NNI) plants significantly damage the ecological and economic vitality of North Carolina forests. Risks to the ecological and economic vitality of North Carolina forests will intensify as new forest pests and NNI plants are introduced and complex challenges to protecting forests from threats increase.
Enhancing the quality of life for the citizens of NC by ensuring quantity and quality of our trees and forests for this and future generations
Forests have a keystone role in protecting drinking water supplies, supporting diverse wildlife, providing water-based recreational and economic development, mitigating impacts from flood, and managing stormwater. Collaboration and active partnerships are needed for success. There remains a need for staffing, funding, and innovative markets associated with providing core forestry-water services to landowners, forestry practitioners, and water managers.
Institutional urban forest management at the local level is key to conserving and growing North Carolina’s urban forests. Proper planning, policy, and legislation will work to mitigate the impacts of urbanization on urban canopy cover and urban forest health.
Best Management Practices
North Carolina’s best management practices (BMPs) program is quasi-regulatory. The agency responsible for BMPs policy development is the North Carolina Forest Service.
Click here to view the most recent BMPs recommendations on the state forestry agency website.