Land ownership and forest cover in the Oregon Coast Range : spatial pattern and social ground-truthing Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/2n49t383j

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  • We use qualitative and quantitative methods to explore social and spatial relationships between land ownership and forest cover in the Oregon Coast Range. Using a Geographic Information System (GIS) and regression analysis, we tested for spatial relationships between the structure of land ownership and forest cover across 66 watersheds in the Oregon Coast Range. We found that forest cover diversity increased with land ownership diversity in these watersheds. Likewise the size and connectivity of forest patches were found to increase with the size and connectivity of land ownership patches respectively (land ownership structure of explains 38% of the variability of forest cover structure across these watersheds). We conclude that landscapes with mixed ownership provide greater habitat diversity, while landscapes with concentrated ownership provide less diverse but more connected forest habitat. Using qualitative research methods we conducted an exploratory case study of one Coast Range watershed to examine possible explanations for relationships between ownership and forest cover. In our case study we found land ownership to change dramatically over time. We also found economic, cultural, and environmental factors all to influence landowner decisions with respect to land use, management, and tenure. We conclude that interactions between these factors are recommend that future studies address this complexity, either in predictive models or policy suggestions. We also recommend that future research in landscape ecology address dynamics of land ownership by updating ownership maps and the ways in which owners are classified.
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