The Kansas Forest Service is seeking public comments by June 4 on a plan that will focus its efforts during a future expected to bring pressures on, and threats to, the state’s forest-related resources.


The Kansas Forest Service is seeking public comments by June 4 on a plan that will focus its efforts during a future expected to bring pressures on, and threats to, the state’s forest-related resources.
The finalized plan must reach the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture by June 18.
“Ideas and opinions from the public are probably more important in Kansas than in any other state. That’s why we looking for individual written comments, submitted to us directly by mail or e-mail,” said Bob Atchison, KFS rural forestry program coordinator.
The nation’s ongoing economic woes are just one force driving the strategic change, Atchison said.
The Kansas plan also must address a rather unusual fact: The state’s forested land exceeds 5.2 million acres, at least 95 percent of which is privately owned.
And, well more than half of this private property occurs in scattered small holdings, affected by widely differing factors.
“This really raises the difficulty in figuring how best to target funds and resources,” he said. “To fulfill our mission, the Kansas Forest Service must help produce the highest returns possible — in terms of ecological, social and economic benefits — from the state’s diverse forest and agroforestry resources.”
The KFS’s proposed plan includes a changed approach for identifying forest areas at risk. It also covers Kansas’ participation in the Forest Legacy Program — a new, voluntary federal effort designed to protect private forestland by purchasing development rights (through conservation easements).
The “Kansas Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy” plan is available for review at www.kansasforests.org/assessment.shtml.
Kansans can request a paper copy by contacting the KFS at (785) 532-3310. Atchison will collect the comments received on or before June 4 by e-mail (atchison@ksu.edu) or postal service at Rural Forestry Coordinator, Kansas Forest Service, 2610 Claflin Road, Manhattan, KS 66502