US forest policy is highly fragmented. The federal government maintains direct forest management inputs for only 35 per cent of the nation’s forests, and states vary greatly by region with regard to both the type and stringency of forest policy chosen for private and state-owned forests. This fragmentation, which may leave the nation unable to forestall threats facing US forest resources in the coming decades, has both legal and political drivers. This chapter highlights these drivers to provide a foundation for understanding where to direct efforts to overcome fragmented forest federalism and to facilitate more holistic management of this crucial domestic resource.
While political rhetoric in the US often frames regulatory limitations that have virtually any negative effect on property values as compensable, a number of doctrines represent the public’s collective human right to a healthy environment free from compensation constraints. This chapter frames these doctrinal limitations on property rights as human rights driven by ‘moral’ norms and articulated through jurisprudential interpretations of common and constitutional law as well as legislative acts codifying common law doctrines. The chapter does so by first situating moral limitations on property rights as human rights within the broader environmental constitutionalism literature. It then explains why these limitations are described as ‘moral’ by reviewing recent property law theory developing the principle that moral obligations both give rise to, and limit, private property rights. Finally, the chapter examines a number of legal doctrines that embody limitations on property rights and that may be used to preserve collective human rights in environmental attributes of private property.