Forest Service Mandate to Private Lands

Jostnix jostnix at
Tue Jun 2 11:19:01 EST 1998

The USFS is mandated by congress to assist in the protection of life and
property on private lands and to survey the nation's timbered resource. Period!
Thats the law!  This Administration has said that that is great but have
decreased the effective monetary support for these two things....

This is not cost-share planting, or urban pork, or foreign forestry aid, and it
is not a political moneymaker or votegetter.  This is fire protection money and
money to support the 50 year old national survey, the Forest Inventory and
Analysis unit (FIA).  See more about FIA at  This national survey
is the ONLY indicator that our nation's forests are being crapped out...and it
is being swept under the political carpet.

All other data are guestimates, mostly pulled out of the air by forest
economists that use old FIA data and guesses by state forestry analysts who
have old data ("they can make better guesses than academics since they are
closer to the problem").  I would love to tell you about some guessing I am
doing right now for a major survey.  We are actually asked to estimate.  I
might write a book when I retire.

And we are sitting around worrying about federal birds and old roads and social
agendas on the Forest Service System. Give me a break!  It is totally insane! 
The Forest Service has better things to do to include getting us real data for
real problems that could set forestry back a century.

FIA is the foundation of all future decision making by government, state,
industrial, and private users of the data.  FIA and Coop Fire Protection has
been emasculated under present and former Administrations.  Survey data goes
from adequate to worthless in 5 years.  Clinton has reduced the survey to a 15
year period; worthless, worthless, worthless....

Yep, industry uses this data in a major way.  They locate paper mills,
sawmills, particle board mills....make major investments using the survey data.
 Government uses the data to keep mills out of an area that has been over
mined...The survey also suggests areas that can support industrial consumption
and gives worlds of information on forest health.

Alabama thinks that this survey data is so valuable, in fact, that the Alabama
Forestry Commission is supplimenting the USFS and has permanent crews on plots
everyday.  We shouldn't have to be doing this but we are because it is the most
necessary thing government can do for forestry.  But we are only one of a
handfull of states doing this.  See SAFIS at 

I'm through.  I think we have lost all touch with reality as to what is truly
important for the federal government or state governments to provide for
Americas forest.

All this is my opinion.  I express this as a citizen of the United States and
nothing I've expressed here represents the opinion of any organization or
agency.  But by damn it should.

Steve Nix
Alabama Registered Forester #745
``````) (___©______John Stephen Nix
Forestry at The Mining Company...
Alabama Forestry Link... 

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