South Sound Science: Luke Rogers

Luke Rogers spoke on “South Sound forest land conversion”

Questions asked from Integrated Statewide Parcel Data:  How big is forest industry?  How much of these are family forests?

things are rapidly becoming urbanized in the South Sound

roughly a 1/4 of forest land has been impacted by development

Showed timberland ownership net flow.  The amount of land under public ownership and small owners hasn’t changed much.  Much of the conversion comes from large forestry selling to smaller owners, which then (after a time) sell land for development.

He explained the property tax incentives to keep land for forestry.

Researchedthe amount of incentive payments needed for someone to choose not to develop.  For $200 an acre per year, 93% of owners would join a 10 year contract to not develop.  53% of people would keep the land undeveloped for 50+ years.

Concerns: “Forestlands are more at risk now than ever.”  DFL reduced risk, but was expensive for local communities.  “Regulatory takings trump tax incentives.”

Could use mitigation funds/markets, and dvelopment right markets.

Questions and answers:

Is there any evidence that reduced land prices is an opportunity?

This is a question that will be researched next spring, but opportunities here could be cancelled out by smaller budgets for buying land.

Are there any places where the conversion of large forestlands to small parcels could be adding to forested land, since it is less apt to be harvested?

We don’t have a good idea of what smaller parcels contribute to the ecosystem, and smaller parcels are more likely to be poorly managed.

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