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Disproportionality, Social Marketing, and Biomass Availability: A Case Study of Virginia and North Carolina Family Forests

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Family forests in the southern United States could play an important role in regional renewable energy initiatives. The availability of biomass from these forests will vary on the basis of biophysical characteristics and owner behavior. Disproportionality has been used to study within-group variability when coupling social and biophysical systems and is a phenomenon where outliers or a nonnormal distribution in one or more coupled data sets disproportionately affects the aggregated observation. Fifty-one family forests in Virginia and North Carolina were studied to measure the potential availability of near-term biomass volume. Parcels were inventoried and owners were asked about their baseline intention to conduct commercial harvesting. Inventory data were used to simulate multiproduct silviculture and estimate per-acre woody biomass output for each parcel. Total output was then determined using parcel size. The influence of social marketing themes on baseline intentions was tested. Estimated biomass outputs were factored by the baseline and significantly influenced intentions and were evaluated using normality and equality of variance tests. Results indicate that the simulated biomass output is not normal and equally variable. The social marketing theme that focused on benefits to the local economy significantly influenced owner intentions, which increased biomass output by 12% at the two highest intention scores but only slightly improved normality and did not significantly change equality of variance. Potential implications for estimating forest-based biomass output from southern family forests are discussed.

Keywords: biosocial; harvesting; intention; multi-scalar; silviculture

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2012

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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