In the Adirondacks, the state park land is interspersed with industry land. The Nature Conservancy stepped in a few years ago and bought land from a big timber company, Finch Pruyn. I have a little experience there having done a third party certification audit on Finch Pruyn before it was sold. The Nature Conservancy are now selling of this land to a Dutch pension fund (TIMO) with conservation easements, et al. Read more about it here. This a great example of keeping forests working for conservation and communties.
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Finally, an updated version of the USDA Forest Service sponsored "Estate Planning for Forest Landowners: What Will Become of Your Timberland" is available here. Unfortunately is going to be outdated as soon as Obama passes new rules on the exclusion. But thats par for the course, with all the tax law changes happening. But still I recommend it - there is still very good stuff in there that landowners should know.
The winter Allegheny Society of American Foresters (SAF) meeting was just held here in State College. Between teaching, I heard a few interesting talks. Two in particular - one on the big picture (= macro) and the other on soils (= micro). The big picture was given by Dylan Jenkins of The Nature Conservancy who discussed an interesting new approach to forest management in PA called working woodlands. I checked his website but its under construction, so stay tuned. The thrust is helping private forest landowners (over 100 acres) to develop working landscapes using all available tools such as tax incentives, easements, certification, EQIP, carbon credits, etc. Its early in the concept and the first I heard of it. My initial take is that its too ambitious but a step in the right direction. We need direction! Lets hope he gets buy-in from the forestry community. The 2nd talk of interest was on soils - specifically acid deposition reducing soil pH. How has acid rain mainly from power plant emissions in the midwest affected forest soils and hence tree growth and sustainability? It was given by Patrick Drohan a prof in PSU's soil science dept. I needed a dose of chemistry and basic science. Of course, thanks to 40 years of data and the Clean Air Act amendments (cap and trade in particular) we have substantially reduced acid rain but there is still an active debate on the role acid rain in forest stress - for instance is it a primary factor in maple decline (our Northern Hardwoods Sugar Maple) - see the Forest Service Research for more info.
This article shows Colorado leads the way with state tax credits. New Mexico and Virgina have similar schemes. PA leads the nation in farmland preservation. I hope its still true - but tax credits may be a more efficient way to spend tax payers money.