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