The productivity and ecological character of North Carolina’s future forests rest largely in the hands of over 500,000 private individuals and families who own 78% of the state’s 17.7 million acres of commercial timberland. Owners cherish the forest for the economic, social and environmental benefits the forest provides. Forest management, timber harvesting and reforestation decisions are influenced by many things, including family situation, the productivity and character of the soils, the current condition of the forest, income needs and philosophy about land ownership and the environment. The purposes of this publication are 1) to encourage landowners to evaluate the current condition and potential of their forest; 2) to suggest pro-active practices which enhance forest health, diversity and productivity and; 3) to investigate forest management and timber harvesting/regeneration options as they impact future forest condition, especially forest health, tree species composition and productivity for wildlife and timber.

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