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A Reconsideration of the Farm Forestry Problem

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Current proposals to improve the productivity of small privately-owned woodlands rely heavily on education, technical assistance, and subsidies These devices may prove ineffective in the case of farm woodlands because they do not come to grips with the fundamental problem, which lies in the economic organization of the farm enterprise. Under the prevailing owner-operator form of organization farmers are unable to obtain or accumulate the capital necessary to fully and continually adapt to a world of rapid technological change in agriculture. One result is an artificial scarcity of capital, high alternative rates of return in the various internal investment possibilities open to the farmer, and a consequent (and perfectly rational) disinvestment in forestry. Farm forestry programs of the conventional variety (or perhaps any variety) are likely to produce very little increase in woodland productivity as long as agriculture continues in its present form of organization and remains an area of rapid technological change.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Publication date: April 1, 1963

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.
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