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Characterizing Family Forest Owners: A Cluster Analysis Approach

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For policy implementation to promote better stewardship on family forestlands, it is necessary to understand what motivates landowners. This study characterizes family forest owners in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, based on their feelings about forest stewardship and their stated reasons for owning forestland. Multivariate cluster analysis suggests that family forest owners are, in fact, a diverse set of owners who can be grouped into three attitudinal types, namely, multiple-objective, nontimber, and timber. The multiple-objective ownership type was found to be the largest group (49.1% of respondents) with almost half the family forest owners in the sample population belonging to this category. Owners belonging to the timber cluster (29.4%) indicated only timber management and land investment as strong motivating factors behind their forestland ownership, whereas owners belonging to the nontimber cluster (21.5%) value the nonconsumptive uses of their forestland such as aesthetic values, biodiversity, recreation, and privacy.

Keywords: National Woodland Owner Survey; cluster analysis; family forest; landowner motivation; nonindustrial private forest owners

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2008

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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