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New Harvard Forest Publication: Managing Different Types of Privately Owned Forest

April 1, 2006
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We used a segmentation analysis which indicates a significant heterogeneity of private woodland owner attitudes in Massachusetts. We estimate roughly 67% of private woodland owners place highest priority on contemplative enjoyment and privacy provided by their properties. These "Henry David Thoreau" type owners are not necessarily opposed to management or utilization of wood from their land, but these activities are of a lesser priority compared to "Walden-like" qualities or benefits. We estimate roughly 23% of the woodland owner population share characteristics with John Muir. These owners place highest priority on environmental protection and the preservation of nature, and express a desire to "let nature take its course." We estimate a relatively small fraction (10%) of the woodland owner population falls into a third segment, which places little importance on nature preservation or privacy and contemplative benefits. We know little about what motivates these so-called "Jane Doe" woodland owners, though results indicate that they are older than Thoreaus or Muirs, and own larger parcels. A relatively high proportion (43%) of "Jane Doe" owners report the intention to sell or develop their land in the next ten years. An improved understanding of private woodland owners provides guidance on the development of more effective public policies and programs for people who collectively are responsible for the future of over 75% of the forested landscape of Massachusetts.

Finley, A.O. and Kittredge Jr., D.B. 2006. Thoreau, Muir, and Jane Doe: Different Types of Private Forest Owners Need Different Kinds of Forest Management. Northern Journal of Applied Forestry, Vol. 23, No.1, March 2006.

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