Semester of Graduation

Fall 2020

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

After being subject to several decades of degradation, the bottomland hardwood (BLH) forests within the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley (LMAV) have undergone landscape-scale restoration regimes through conservation easement programs, such as the Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) and now the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program-Wetland Reserve Easement (ACEP-WRE). Reforested easements now require landowners' adoption of forest management practices to fulfill the program's long-term conservation goals and ecosystem services thresholds. Using a contingent valuation (CV) approach, we examine easement landowners' willingness to accept (WTA) to thin their forested easement to enhance forest health and wildlife habitat quality. Results from an interval regression model suggest that ownership characteristics, involvement in nontimber activities, and management characteristics significantly decrease WTA while ownership objectives increase WTA. The mean monetary compensation required to induce thinning adoption is $11.52 per ton of pulpwood. This study presents potential tools, including educational interventions and extension efforts, to achieve thinning objectives in the conservation easements efficiently.

Committee Chair

Penn, Jerrod

Available for download on Sunday, November 28, 2021

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