We Represent You
While other organizations are working to sustain and protect the forests, FLA is working to sustain the people who own them.
We know that to have healthy forests, you must promote and protect the interests of the individuals who own, manage and make a livelihood from their unique natural resources.
We are committed to preserving America’s tradition of private forest ownership, promoting the importance of forest resources, and securing a legacy that can be passed to the next generation.
Private forests cover about 445 million acres in the United States or 58% of the nation’s total forested acres.
These forests produce more than 60% of the nation’s annual wood harvest. In several regions of the country, they are the primary source of pulp, lumber, plywood, and other wood products.
Private forests also generate a host of non-timber benefits such as providing clean water, carbon sequestration, wildlife habitat, and open space – usually at no cost to surrounding communities. The landowners who manage these private forests practice sustainable management practices by meeting the needs of society today without jeopardizing our ability to do so in the future.
For the past 100 years, the total forest area in the U.S. has been stable – and even has grown, according to the 2010 U.S. Forest Service Resources Planning Act Assessment.
Legality and Government
Good forest management begins with a strong rule of law, along with general respect for rules and regulations, political stability, government effectiveness, appropriate regulatory quality, and citizen accountability.
Forest operations in the United States are governed by federal and state laws and regulations that guide the management of forests on private lands. With more than 26 federal statutes that cover everything from the protection of water, air, endangered plants, and animals, along with a layer of state laws to fill in gaps at the local level, U.S. forests have become the solution to many environmental concerns.
These policies have stood the test of time and offered assurance to the forest products industry and U.S. customers that the products they produce or purchase were sourced from well-managed forests.
Some international experts estimate that more than half of all logging activities in the most vulnerable forest regions on earth – Southeast Asia, Central Africa, South America, and Russia – are being conducted illegally. That’s not the case in the United States.
Federal and state forest managers and private property owners understand that sustainable forest management is needed to achieve long-term sustainability and a healthy forest landscape for future generations. Simply put, the vast majority of all available wood in the United States is legally harvested and appropriately accounted for.
Best Management Practices
America’s working forests are a critical natural resource that provides significant environmental, recreational, and economic benefits. The success in good forest management is seen in recognizing the importance of water quality. Two-thirds of the nation’s drinking water comes from forests.
Forests play an important role in the health of our environment and our economy. Private forest landowners are among the strongest advocates for maintaining healthy and sustainable forests and ensuring clean water. To protect water quality, best management practice (BMP) programs were developed and have served to manage forestry activities for more than three decades. Individual states have invested substantial resources to develop effective BMP programs.
Starting from a core set of principles, BMPs are shaped by a diverse group of stakeholders and tailored to address local landscape conditions. The flexibility of this approach allows for the adoption of new practices as the latest scientific research becomes available. The most recent data shows a 90% level of proper BMP application by private forest landowners in almost every region of the United States.
It doesn’t end there. More and more state forestry commission assessments point to the additional benefits of good forestry, such as biodiversity benefits (habitat for wildlife; endangered species), recreation (hunting clubs, fishing), air quality, and carbon sequestration.