In light of the recent budget cuts to the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, the NCFA’s Forest Management Committee developed the following statement of support for the program and the important role it plays in providing valuable stewardship information for forest landowners, foresters and the forest products industry.
“The North Carolina Natural Heritage Program serves forest landowners, forest industry, conservation organizations, and the general public by providing valuable information on natural communities that occur throughout our state. This program is voluntary for landowners. It is not regulatory, only seeking to serve landowners and the public.
The information collected and provided by the program gives forest landowners the information they need to protect and to enhance the natural areas on their properties and provides valuable information to forest managers and consulting foresters that help inform their management recommendations. Additionally, forest certification programs require forest landowners to identify unique natural areas and to manage them in a way that takes in to account their special qualities. Identification and management of unique natural heritage areas is a condition of certification to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard, the Forest Stewardship Council Standard, and the American Tree Farm Standard. The Natural Heritage Program provides information which fulfills these requirements. It also provides landowners with information who are developing Forest Stewardship Plans that will receive cost share funding.
The North Carolina Forestry Association supports the work of the Natural Heritage Program and recognizes the program’s important role of identifying, documenting and conserving unique forest communities across the state. This information is invaluable to forest landowners and forest managers as they consider their stewardship decisions.”
The statement of support was approved by the NCFA’s Board of Directors in May.