Semester of Graduation

Fall 2021

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Promoting conservation practices among family forests landowners play a critical role to enhance forest health and ecosystem services. Several certification programs recognize such efforts, but participation among landowners varies based on their characteristics, program requirements, and incentives. One crucial step of certification is to obtain a forest management plan, but acquisition among landowners remains extremely low. Several studies suggest connecting landowners with foresters as the key element towards the adoption of forest management plans. Because foresters are typically employed by public forestry agencies or as private self-employed consultants, landowners' willingness to work with either may differ. As far as we know, no such study has investigated and compared landowner preference for the two types of foresters. This study aims to determine the factors influencing the family forest landowners’ willingness to obtain a consultation with either a private or public forester as a precursor to forest certification. This will be evaluated through a survey of family forest landowners from Northeastern Louisiana and Southeastern Arkansas. The data was analyzed using a bivariate probit regression model. According to the survey results, one-third of the respondents were willing to hire any form of consultant forester to manage their forest area. Compared to their peers, these landowners had smaller forest areas, more income, and better education levels. Furthermore, being retired was associated with a lower propensity to hire any type of consulting forester. Results from this study will help determine how public and private foresters may affect landowners’ interest in certification, by demonstrating differences in the landowners the two types of foresters can reach and aiding future outreach efforts towards conservation programs.

Committee Chair

Penn, Jerrod

Available for download on Wednesday, November 02, 2022

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