Although the forests of British Columbia, Canada, are 96 percent government-owned, the management of the forests is far more market-driven than in the U.S. Forest Service, according to a new report by PERC, the Property and Environment Research Center.
The forests of North America represent enormous natural bounty. Yet, in the United States at least, the benefits of this wealth of nature are not being fully realized. Taxpayers lose money on their public forests, and the forests face severe ecological threats.
State parks across the nation are serving more and more visitors while struggling to preserve natural and cultural resources. As demands for tax-generated revenues grow, many state legislatures are cutting appropriations to their park systems. Shrinking funds and growing usage threaten the well-being of all our state parks.
Americans are on the fast track to land preservation as more and more federal land is set aside at an increasingly rapid pace. Now is the time to pause and ask if locking up great expanses of land provides the good stewardship that we want for our public lands.
"If we are to protect America’s most valued lands, federal land management policies must be reformed and private conservation efforts encouraged," says PERC researcher Holly Lippke Fretwell.
Our national forests are in appallingly poor health. An estimated 39 million acres are at risk to catastrophic wildfire and another six million are dead and dying from insect infestation. Fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, recreational opportunities, and the commercial value of the timber could all be wiped out with a single stray spark.
"The concern for forests today is not simply that trees will die from bugs or diseases--it is that entire forest systems are so far out of normal ecological range that virtually every element in the system is affected, and may be at risk."
Our federal lands should be a rich resource to every taxpayer, not a burden, says Holly Lippke Fretwell in a revealing report on public lands published by PERC. Each year from 1994 to 1996, the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management lost an average of $290 million on timber, $66 million on grazing, and $355 million on recreation. Why do these agencies lose money on a federal estate of 456 million acres that encompasses a wealth of forests, grazing lands, minerals, wildlife and recreational amenities? The answer is simple: cost inefficiency.
In this PERC Case Study, Sierra Crane-Murdoch explores the challenges facing a tribe atop the nation’s biggest oil play. While mineral owners off the reservation have earned thousands of dollars for each acre leased, most allottees within have earned only a few hundred.
By the employment of dogs, farmers and conservationists are reducing both livestock lost to predation and cheetahs lost to predator control.
As we approach Earth Day 2012, I offer a sobering proposition: The blueprints of our major air and water pollution control statutes were flawed at birth.
Discussions of renewable energy typically focus on technologies such as solar panels, wind power, and geothermal. In one state, however, a different conversation is taking shape—one that is focusing on refining an age-old source of renewable energy: wood.
State parks often have their budgets cut when revenues are tight. Some parks are having success by hiring private companies to run the parks. They are efficient, good stewards of the resource, and customer-friendly.
African white rhinos have been saved from extinctionby private owners who used property rights and market incentives to restore the South African population of 20 in 1900 to more than 20,000 today.
Using a market based approach, urban areas in Colorado can buy water consumption rights from ranchers. This water banking approach is a cost-effective means to water conservation.
In drought plagued southwestern Georgia, conservation groups paid farmers to save water for streams by employing more efficient irrigation and wireless technology to measure soil moisture.
The Habitat Farming Enterprise Program may be able to restore three endangered and threatened fish species to the Columbia River where millions of dollars from government agencies and conservation groups have failed.
Kansas farmers have adopted land management practices that improve water quality for residents of Wichita and protect fish and wildlife habitat without harming agricultural production.