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Characteristics of and Challenges Faced by Logging Business Owners in Southern New England

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The heavily populated states of southern New England—Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island—are primarily forested, providing forest-related services and timber and nontimber forest products. Despite reported challenges to the region's forestry sector, including a shortage of logging capacity, there has been a lack of systematically gathered data about the region's logging community. A mailed survey, informed by focus groups, key informant interviews, and previous research, was used to develop baseline information about the region's logging business owners and to explore challenges to the region's logging businesses. There were few significant differences among logging businesses and logging business owners from the three southern New England states for the attributes studied. Although some mechanized felling was reported, most logging businesses in the region used chain saw felling and 46% of the businesses reported a logging equipment value of less than $100,000. Logging business owners cited several challenges to maintaining or expanding their businesses, including day-to-day operating costs, equipment and insurance costs, the price of stumpage, a shrinking forestland base, and harvest regulations. In addition, there was a general perception of the public's lack of respect for loggers and logging, as well as a perceived disconnect between forest products that the public consumes and the work that loggers perform. Loggers in the region appeared to have less familial attachment to logging, more nonlogging employment opportunity, and a diminished sense of occupational prestige compared with other logging business owners in the northeast. As with similar studies of the logging communities in other states in the northeast, this study represents a reference point from which future studies of the region's logging workforce may be more clearly understood.

Keywords: barriers to logging businesses; occupational choice and prestige

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-12-01

More about this publication?
  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Northern Journal of Applied Forestry covers northeastern, midwestern, and boreal forests in the United States and Canada.
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