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Population Growth, Urban Expansion, and Private Forestry in Western Oregon

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Private forestlands in the United States face increasing pressures from growing populations, resulting in greater numbers of people living in closer proximity to forests. What often is called the ‘wildland/urban interface’ is characterized by expansion of residential and other developed land uses onto forested landscapes in a manner that threatens forestlands as productive socioeconomic and ecological resources. Prevailing hypotheses suggest that such forestlands can become less productive, because forest owners reduce investments in forest management. We develop empirical models describing forest stocking, thinning, harvest, and tree planting in western Oregon, as functions of stand and site characteristics, ownership, and building densities. We use the models to examine the potential impacts of population growth and urban expansion, as described by increasing building densities, on the likelihood that forest owners maintain forest stocking, precommercial thin, harvest, and plant trees following harvest. Empirical results support the general conclusion that population growth and urban expansion are correlated with reduced forest management and investment on private forestlands in western Oregon (USA). Results have potential implications for both economic outputs and ecological conditions, as well as for wildfire risks at the wildland/urban interface. FOR. SCI. 50(1):33–43.
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Keywords: Urbanization; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; nonindustrial private forest owners; wildland/urban interface

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Pacific Northwest Research Station Forestry Sciences Laboratory 3200 SW Jefferson Way Corvallis OR 97331 Phone: 541-758-7776;, Fax: 541-750-7329, Email: [email protected] 2: Pacific Northwest Research Station Forestry Sciences Laboratory Portland OR 97208 3: Pacific Northwest Research Station Forestry Sciences Laboratory Corvallis OR 97331

Publication date: 01 February 2004

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