The timber harvesting behavior of family forest owners Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/v692t9242

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  • To increase our understanding of the timber harvesting behavior of family forest owners, I developed theoretical and empirical timber harvesting models for family forest owners in the southeastern United States. An individual-choice model was the basis for the models. Family forest owners were modeled as utility-maximizers who made harvesting decisions by balancing amenity and profit values. The relative weights of these values were determined by owners' personal preferences (e.g., forest ownership objectives). Harvesting was modeled as a function of these weightings and biophysical and socioeconomic variables. The three owner groups identified in the theoretical model - profit, multiple-objective, and amenity - were incorporated in the empirical models. Data from forest inventories and forest owner surveys conducted by the USDA Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis program were used in logistic regression harvesting models. Separate models were generated for all family forest owners and each of the family forest owner groups. Among the owner groups, harvesting propensity was highest for the profit group and lowest for the amenity group. Using information collected from on-the-ground forest surveys, stand structure variables, such as basal area and volume, were the most significant predictors of timber harvesting among the biophysical and socioeconomic variables tested. Other significant variables were stumpage values, the importance of timber production as an ownership objective, and whether owners lived within one mile of their forestland. Softwood sawtimber stumpage value, whether owners lived within one mile of their forestland, their incomes, whether they had management plans, and whether their forestland was managed by a professional forester were significant variables in the harvesting model for the profit group. Basal area, softwood sawtimber stumpage value, the importance of timber production as an ownership objective, whether owners lived within one mile of their forestland, and slope were significant for the multiple-objective group model. For the amenity group model, softwood pulpwood stumpage value and owners' incomes were significant variables. The results of the models were aggregated and implications for the region's timber supply were assessed for different scenarios. Continued shifts away from strong timber ownership objectives will likely decrease the flow of timber from family forestlands.
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