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Conservation Easements and Management by Family Forest Owners: A Propensity Score Matching Approach with Multi-Imputations of Survey Data

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Increasingly, private landowners are participating in conservation easement programs, but their effects on land management remain to be addressed. Data from the USDA Forest Service National Woodland Owner Survey for the US Northern Region were used to investigate how conservation easement participation is associated with selected past and future forest management practices. Multiple data imputation was used to correct for missing data bias, and propensity score matching was applied to correct for selection bias. Results show that only the adoption of forest management plans, among 17 forest management practices, was significantly and positively correlated with easement participation. Conservation easements legally bind participants to maintain land forested, but there was no evidence of greater association between easement participation and active forest management practices, including timber harvesting. These findings suggest that adoption of conservation easements is a policy tool that can preserve forestland from changing to other uses but may not necessarily be conducive to wider implementation of land practices necessary for long-term protection of forests.

Keywords: conservation easement; missing data; multiple imputation; propensity score matching; selection bias

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2014-04-01

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

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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