Letter from Keville Larson to Alabama Commission on Environmental
Larson & McGowin, Inc.
Forest Managers & Consultants
P. O. Box 2143
Mobile, Alabama 36652
October 27, 2000
Mr. Pete Conroy, Chairman
Alabama Commission on Environmental Initiatives
c/o Environmental Policy and Information Center
Jacksonville State University
700 Pelham Road North
Jacksonville, Alabama 36265
Dear Mr. Conroy:
This letter is a plea to recognize Alabama's forestland as our greatest environmental success story.
From the farmed out, eroded, cutover and hunted out condition of 60 or 70 years ago,
68% of our land area is now forested, with timber volume, game abundance, forest diversity and number of acres still increasing.
Although largest in area, forestland contributes the least non-point source
pollution; 4% from natural causes and 4% from man's activities.
Three quarters of Alabama's forest acres are owned by over 200,000 farmers, individuals, families,
etc. collectively termed non-industrial private forest owners.
Responsible stewardship by these owners managing for a wide range of purposes including recreation, wildlife, outdoor enjoyment, aesthetics, and forest products, has created an
unparalleled diversity of forest conditions.
Industry owns 20% of the State's forest acres and manages in accordance with
sustainable forest principles for production of forest products.
Surveys have found over 90% compliance with Alabama's voluntary Best Management Practices for forestland.
No other land use protects air and water quality as well as forests.
This success has been accomplished by private forestland owners managing for their own objectives and responding to the supply and demand incentives of the free market. They have been
encouraged and prodded by: (1) a combination of State and Federal regulation protecting landowner rights (fire, theft, grazing, hunting), (2) voluntary standers (Alabama's Best Management Practices and industry's Sustainable Forestry Initiative) and (3) Federal Acts (Endangered Species and Clean Water).
I urge recognition of these conditions and factors in your final report to the Governor.
Very truly yours,
L. Keville Larson