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New Harvard Forest Publication: Identifying Types of Private Forest Ownership

May 1, 2006
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Ecosystem-scale approaches to management in the eastern United States depend on the attitudes and behaviors of thousands of non-industrial private families and individuals whose ownership dominates landscapes. In Massachusetts, for example, it is estimated that the average ownership is 23 acres. Most ecosystem processes greatly exceed this very small average management unit. While there has been prior work on individual owner attitudes, there is little documented research exploring attitudes of owners towards cooperation at scales broader than their own properties. We use a segmentation analysis to divide the Massachusetts woodland owner population into 4 statistically distinct subgroups with respect to cooperation: two segments show interest for various reasons (representing 48% of the total population), whereas one segment shows apathy (27%), and the fourth segment shows disinterest (24% of the population). In general, woodland owners interested in cooperation tend to be younger, more highly educated, and have higher incomes than owners showing apathy or disinterest. Those interested in cooperation tend to have owned their land for a short time. These results have implications for public policy designed to effectively appeal to private woodland owners who collectively are responsible for a huge share of the nation's forests. 

Finley, A.O., Kittredge Jr., D.B., Stevens, T.H., Schweik, C.M. and Dennis, D.C. 2006. Interest in Cross-Boundary Cooperation: Identification of Distinct Types of Private Forest Owners. Forest Science 52(1): 10-22.

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