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An Analysis of the Impacts of Public Timber Harvest Policies on Private Forest Management in the United States

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Past studies of the impacts of changes in public timber harvest have commonly assumed that the extent and intensity of private forest management would remain unchanged in the face of shifting log prices and demand. This study reexamines the issue of public harvest impacts using a model of intertemporal log markets in which prices, private harvests, and timber management investment are endogenous. The model considers two classes of private owners in nine regions and subdivides the basic timber inventory into a large number of classes that influence yields and costs, including, site quality, species group, and past management. Six product groups are recognized with opportunities for substitution. Given the perfect market and foresight structure of the model, simulation results suggest a far more elastic market response to changes in public cut than found in past studies. Shifts in intertemporal patterns of private investment act to reduce the price and aggregate harvest impacts of public cut changes over time. Underlying these moderated market impacts, however, are larger interregional shifts in harvest and private owner welfare than suggested in earlier analyses. Through changing management investment, including conversion of lands from hardwood to softwood species types, some of the largest economic and biological/ecological impacts may be realized outside of the regions in which public forestlands are concentrated. For. Sci. 42(3):343-358.

Keywords: Timber supply; investment; market model

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Forest Policy Analyst, Climate and Policy Assessment Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC

Publication date: August 1, 1996

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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