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Family Forest Owner Characteristics Shaped by Life Cycle, Cohort, and Period Effects

Butler, Sarah M., Butler, Brett J., Markowski-Lindsay, Marla
Small-scale forestry 2017 v.16 no.1 pp. 1-18
USDA Forest Service, attitudes and opinions, data collection, educational status, forest ownership, forests, issues and policy, land management, landowners, private forestry, surveys, woodlands, United States
Understanding differences and similarities among family forest owners is important in the context of forest land conservation. This study assesses similarities and differences in landowners by analyzing life cycle effects, cohort differences, and period-specific events that shape people’s attitudes and behaviors towards their forestland over time. Using data collected by the U.S. Forest Service’s 2013 National Woodland Owner Survey, bivariate, random forest and classification tree analyses were used to examine landowners in terms of demographic cohorts. Some attitudes and behaviors of family forest owners were identified as being a result of life cycle (e.g., recreating on their wooded land, plans to transfer land in the next 5 years), cohort (e.g., education level, help with programs or policies), and period (e.g., wars, economic depressions changing attitudes or behaviors) effects. While many of the attitudes and behaviors are common across cohorts. Understanding the reasons for similarities and differences among landowners could help program and policy developers target the appropriate group of people and achieve the highest success rates for policies and programs.