The total area of private forestland in the U.S. has gradually declined since the mid-twentieth century. Increasing population and urban centers are adding demands on our forests.
Projections indicate that 11% of private forests are likely to see dramatic increases in housing density in the next three decades. Development results in the loss of forests, smaller areas of intact forest, smaller parcel sizes, and isolation of forest fragments. These changes alter the ability of private forests to provide many ecological, economic, and social benefits.
The Forest Legacy Assessment of Need identifies three Forest Legacy areas (North, Central, and Southeast Mississippi) where important natural forest communities exist on private lands that may are potentially threatened by conversion from urban and suburban growth, or other threats.
The Assessment of Need recommends these areas of the state be designated as Forest Legacy areas so that willing landowners may nominate their property as a possible Forest Legacy Tract.
The Forest Legacy Program (was authorized by the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 to identify and protect environmentally important, private forestlands threatened with conversion to non-forest uses.