The Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention ProgramThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
African-American rural landholdings have declined precipitously over the past century, and heirs’ property is believed to be a significant factor in this decline. Over the same time period, under-participation in sustainable forest management has resulted in limited economic returns from land. The Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program was launched in 2012 to address these two issues through an integrated, community-based program of legal and forestry outreach and assistance. Family land has important heritage value to African-American landowners, and many want future generations to retain it. We find that addressing the issues of heirs’ property and promoting forestry engagement work synergistically in this program. In particular, the potential economic returns of sustainable forest management can motivate families to come together to resolve heirs’ property and work toward future land ownership strategies that are both economically productive and supportive of family legacies.