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America's Family Forest Owners

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The number of family forest owners in the conterminous United States increased from 9.3 million in 1993 to 10.3 million in 2003, and these owners now control 42% of the nation's forestland. The reasons why people own forestland are diverse. Some of the more common ones are aesthetic enjoyment, the tract is part of a farm or home site, and to pass the land on to heirs. Half of the family forest owners have harvested trees, but only 3% of them have a written forest-management plan. Trends in owners' ages and future land-use intentions suggest widescale transfers of family forestland in the near future.

Keywords: National Woodland Owner Survey; Nonindustrial private forests; environmental management; forest; forest inventory; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; landowner survey; natural resource management; natural resources; small-scale forestry

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Research Forester Northeastern Research Station USDA Forest Service 11 Campus Boulevard, Suite 200 Newtown Square PA 19073, Email: 2: Research Social Scientist North Central Research Station USDA Forest Service 1992 Folwell Avenue St. Paul MN 55018, Email:

Publication date: 2004-10-01

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.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.476
    Ranking: 22 of 66 in forestry

    Average time from submission to first decision: 39.6 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

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    Forest Science
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