Motivations and Behaviors of New Forest Owners in Virginia

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Forestry must find ways to remain relevant to its changing constituency and client base. Market segmentation techniques can help. This study assessed the motivations and forest practices of 661 people who recently purchased forested lands ranging in size between 0.8 and 20 ha in rapidly growing counties in Virginia. Cluster analysis techniques were used to identify six market segments: absentee investors (4%), professionals (13%), preservationists (16%), young families (19%), forest planners (21%), and farmers (21%). (The remaining 6% demonstrated no variance in their responses and were not clustered.) The results suggest that lifestyle and amenity concerns are much more important motivations for landownership than are timber production and economic concerns. We discuss communication strategies, management services, and landowner assistance programs that might appeal to people in each of the six market segments. FOR. SCI. 51(2):142–154.

Keywords: Market segmentation; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; fragmentation; hobby-farms; migration; natural resource management; natural resources; nonindustrial private forestland (NIPF); urban-wildland interface; urbanization

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Instructor Geography Department Central Connecticut State University New Britain CT 06050 Phone: (860) 342-2894, Email: 2: Professor Department of Forestry Virginia Tech Blacksburg VA 24061 Phone: (540) 231-7272;, Fax: (540) 231-3698, Email:

Publication date: April 1, 2005

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