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Nonindustrial Private Forest Landowner Characteristics and Use of Forestry Services in Four Southern States: Results from a 2002–2003 Mail Survey

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Forest resources are important economic assets to the southern United States; however, many landowners do not realize the full benefit of their forestland. It was believed that few landowners were being served by forestry-related educational programs or other relevant activities. Therefore, forest landowners in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee were engaged in focus groups and surveyed to determine barriers to participation. Six thousand surveys were mailed to landowners owning 10 or more acres of forestland. A total of 1,689 surveys were returned for an adjusted rate of return of 30.7%. From a sociodemographic standpoint, significant differences (α = 0.05) between states existed for ethnic background (P = 0.000) and educational attainment (P = 0.000) only. Landowners' served status was determined by their responses concerning use of a professional forester (37%), information previously received pertaining to forestry (40%), membership in a forestry-related organization (11%), and attendance at forestry-related educational programs (14%). Based on an index compiled from these responses, 75% of forest landowners were deemed underserved. Landowners stated the main reason they had not taken advantage of these programs or services was because they were unaware of them. This indicated a need for more comprehensive outreach efforts targeting landowners. The results revealed that forestry professionals can potentially increase landowner awareness of educational programs by mailing newsletters, pamphlets/brochures, and/or letters to all forest landowners within a reasonable distance of the program. Overall, respondents reported wildlife management, insects/diseases, and marketing timber as topics of paramount interest for future educational programs. South. J. Appl. For. 29(4):194–199.
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Keywords: Educational needs; NIPF landowners; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; forestry services; mail questionnaires; natural resource management; natural resources

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Forest and Wildlife Research Center, College of Forest Resources Mississippi State University Mississippi State MS 39762 Phone: (662) 325-3550;, Fax: (662) 325-8726, Email: 2: Forest and Wildlife Research Center, College of Forest Resources Mississippi State University Mississippi State MS 39762 3: Department of Forestry Mississippi State University Purvis MS 39475 4: Center for Natural Resource Economics and Policy Louisiana State University Agricultural Center Baton Rouge LA 70803 5: Cooperative Extension Program, Forestry Tennessee State University Nashville TN 37209 6: Arkansas Forestry Commission Forrest City AR 72335

Publication date: 2005-11-01

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  • 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 Southern Journal of Applied Forestry covers an area from Virginia and Kentucky south to as far west as Oklahoma and east Texas.
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