Families own more than four in 10 forested acres in the United States anddominate the rural landscape east of the Mississippi River. Comprising the largest forest ownership category in the country, family forest owners grow the wood that feeds most local mills and employs most forest workers; they are the social and economic backbones of many rural communities. Family forests bring diversity to rural and urban fringe landscapes, supplying environmental values and services. Family forest owners provide many of the benefits desired of community-based forestry, including local knowledge, values, and decisionmaking; human-scale management applications; and multiple, creative alternatives to modern industrial forestry practices. For all these reasons, family forest owners are central players in community-based forestry in the United States.