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Nonindustrial Private Forest Landowners and the Southern Pine Beetle: Factors Affecting Monitoring, Preventing, and Controlling Infestations

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The southern pine beetle (SPB; Dendroctonus frontalis Zimmermann) has been a major source of timber and income loss to nonindustrial private forest landowners in the southern region of United States. Efforts to promote forest health through prevention and control must identify new ways to reach the sociologically diverse and spatially dispersed nonindustrial private landowners in this region. This study examined the knowledge levels, perceptions, and forest management practices among a sample of 205 southern forest landowners contacted in a mail survey. Results show that respondents with personal value commitments to conservation and wise use of forestland took more monitoring, prevention, and control actions. Membership in forest landowner associations, familiarity with public assistance programs, and use of more sources of forest management advice defined a context for increased awareness, interest, and desire to manage the SPB. Furthermore, two aspects of the landowner situation seemed to enhance the propensity to take SPB prevention and control actions. Recent SPB-caused timber losses in the county and the presence of a written management plan were associated with greater prevention efforts. An established consideration of what treatments and purposes a piece of property was to receive seemed to lead to better responsiveness to forest health risks such as the SPB. Although plans to harvest timber seemed to enhance vigilance about the SPB, involving forest holders in a broader community of landowners seems to be a central means for stimulating the vigilance and commitment necessary to intervene early in the development of forest health problems before larger losses ensue.

Keywords: education; extension; landowners; prevention; southern pine beetle

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-05-01

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 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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