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Motivations for Family Forestland Parcelization in the Catskill/Delaware Watersheds of New York

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Fragmentation and loss of forestland in the rural Northeast is increasing, often preceded by parcelization. To understand why landowners parcelize and sell their land, we surveyed forestland owners in the Catskill-Delaware watersheds who did parcelize as well as those whose property remains intact. Owners of parcelized properties were, on average, older; more likely to be retired; and reported lower incomes than owners of intact properties, but both groups identified property taxes, aging, lack of interest in forest ownership among family members, and personal circumstances as concerns in owning forestland and reasons for parcelization. Forestry activities, such as management assistance, and timber markets were not important. Many farms contain significant forest acreage so forest parcelization may often be a secondary effect of agricultural decline. Forest policies should account for these drivers as they attempt to decrease parcelization and the resulting forest fragmentation.

Keywords: family forest owners; forest fragmentation; forest parcelication; forest policy; property taxes

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2012

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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