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Are Family Forest Owners Facing a Future In Which Forest Management Is Not Enough?

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Abstract:

Family forests represent the largest proportion of forestland within the United States; however, the processes of forest conversion, fragmentation, and parcelization are drastically impeding the ability to manage these lands and maintain the benefits they provide. One factor suggested as driving this trend is the inability of landowners to meet the property tax burden on their land. We evaluated the effectiveness of three tools commonly suggested for meeting the financial demands of property taxes: (1) use of economic returns from timber management, (2) enrollment in a current-use tax program, and (3) sale of a conservation easement, within a rural watershed in western Massachusetts. Our results indicate that revenue from timber management is insufficient at covering property taxes and that application of measures such as the sale of conservation easements will be critical in maintaining the viability of forest ownership in areas of rising land values and property taxes.

Keywords: conservation easements; current-use; ecosystem services; family forests; property taxes; sustainable forest management

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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.

    Also published by SAF:
    Forest Science
    Other SAF Publications
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