The Changing Social Landscape in the Midwest: A Boon for Forestry and Bust for Oak?

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Abstract:

Recent forest surveys report poor oak regeneration on the privately held forestlands of the Midwest. Data from in-depth interviews with natural resource professionals from the region suggested that changing ownership patterns, increasing property values, widespread forest parcelization, and exurban residential development, both directly and indirectly, limit the likelihood of oak regeneration. Foremost, interviewees noted that typical practices used to regenerate oak, such as clearcutting, were often viewed by landowners as incompatible with expectations of how forestland should be experienced under their care. Such constraints may be countered by the observation that new family forest owners are more economically able to engage in sustainable forestry practices and are highly motivated to manage their forests when compared with owners of the past. Interviewees provided a multifaceted portrait of new opportunities for engaging private landowners in sustainable forest management but posed a questionable future for oak.

Keywords: clearcutting; ecological disturbance; family forests; oak regeneration; parcelization

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2009

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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