Southern Forest Assessment Library
We are fortunate in the South to have a rich history of landscape-level assessments related to forestry.
The links below will provide you with background on each of the five assessments conducted by the Southern Research Station, Southern Region, and the Southern Group of State Foresters. Each link provides background information, summaries, and a technical report. You may also find linkages to datasets, and public comments.
Southern Forest Outlook
The Southern Forest Outlook is the most recent assessment to the library. Over the past decade (since the Southern Forest Futures Project), shifts in land use, climate, forest disturbance, forest management, and forest product markets has led to increasing uncertainty about the future of the forest sectors. These shifts have particular relevance to issues such as water, markets, and fire. The Outlook will follow a similar structure as the Futures project, with the goal to provide information for decision makers and the interested public about observed trends, anticipated futures, and critical issues in the forest sector.
Southern Forest Futures Project
The Southern Forest Futures Project (SFFP) was published in 2012. This project was driven by increasing urbanization, land ownership dynamics, and markets and included integrated change scenarios based on population, economic factors, and climate change. The Futures report was the primary driver for the high-priority, regional working forest conservation initiative that we’re calling Keeping Forests, it helped the SRS set priorities and led SRS scientists to examine a suite of challenges.
Southern Forest Resource Assessment
The Southern Forest Resource Assessment (SFRA) was published in 2002 and was a joint project among the Forest Service, Southern Group, EPA, Fish and Wildlife, and TVA. It was driven primarily by the increase in satellite chip mills and timber demand in the South and the concern from certain groups around resource sustainability. SFRA also included info on population, values, and attitudes on forest resources. The Southern Forest Resource assessment led to improvements in BMP monitoring and development of the regional protocols that are still used today, they led to an expansion of the FIA program, some of the information was useful when developing the first State Forest Action Plans, and the Assessment brought together a diverse group of stakeholders to address a resource concern.
The South’s Fourth Forest
The South’s Fourth Forest was developed by the USFS in the late 1980’s. This assessment was focused on recent and prospective trends related to timber resources and was driven by surveys that showed, after several decades of rising, softwood and hardwood supply were beginning to decline.
The South’s Third Forest
The South’s Third Forest was developed by the Southern Resource Analysis Committee in the late 60’s and focused on how the region got where it was related to timber and how the region could maintain or improve favorable trends. Support for this assessment was provided by timber industry and private forestland owners.