|A new McMansion in the Cowee Forest (Photo by Alexander Kaufman)|
It's one example of a growing trend of struggling milling companies selling off lands to investors who sell those former logging lands to developers for large summer homes for wealthy city dwellers. This takes away their economic potential for logging. "When properties get fragmented, they lose the economic integrity as timberland," Larry Selzer, chief executive of the Conservation Fund, told Kaufman. "Once they lose the economic value, then it’s an inevitable march toward conversion and development."
But logging jobs can come back to privately owned forests, which welcome sustainable forestry as a way to keep the forests clear of deadwood. "Those jobs are an economic engine for rural areas that industry has abandoned. Conservation easements help not only to preserve the land, but to put it in the hands of the people who depend on it," Kaufman reports. Conservation Fund Chief Executive Larry Selzer says "What we’re doing is preserving the rural character, meaning lands stay as forested lands, preserving the forest-based economy of logging, trucking, value-added manufacturing, like flooring, furniture and molding."