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Methods for Estimating Private Forest Ownership Statistics: Revised Methods for the USDA Forest Service's National Woodland Owner Survey

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The USDA Forest Service's National Woodland Owner Survey (NWOS) is conducted to better understand the attitudes and behaviors of private forest ownerships, which control more than half of US forestland. Inferences about the populations of interest should be based on theoretically sound estimation procedures. A recent review of the procedures disclosed an error in the application of estimation used in the NWOS. These issues are addressed and resolved in this article. The NWOS is administered to ownerships that contain a sample point determined to be forested and privately owned. The random selection of the sample points results in selection of ownerships with probability proportional to area of forestland owned. Inferences from survey results, including numbers of ownerships, area of forestland and associated variances, can be made using appropriate techniques, such as the Hansen-Hurwitz Estimator.

Keywords: Hansen-Hurwitz estimator; family forest owners; private forest owners; probability proportional to size; sampling design

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2013-09-01

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  • 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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