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Title:Assessing private forest landowner decision making in Illinois: applied management solutions for diverse objectives
Author(s):Hendee, Jacob T.
Advisor(s):Flint, Courtney G.
Department / Program:Natural Res & Env Sci
Discipline:Natural Res & Env Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
private forest landowners
forest management
ecosystem services
climate change
Abstract:Private forest landowners own nearly half of U.S. forestlands, providing a number of benefits to the American public: a refuge for biological diversity, watershed values, renewable timber production, carbon storage, recreation, and enjoyment. The private forestland base also faces a number of threats including development, parcelization, invasive species encroachment, damaging harvesting practices, and climate change. Decision making by private forest landowners has been a topic of keen interest for over a century as forestry practitioners have struggled to engage forest landowners. Recent studies show very few U.S. private forest landowners have a written management plan. Mail survey (n=532), interview (n=53), and participant observation methodologies were used in southern and central Illinois to assess private forest landowner engagement with forestry. First, logistic regression analysis of survey data was used to assess forest management actions of southern Illinois private forest landowners in the context of the contentious dialogue about the management of the Shawnee National Forest. Second, quantitative survey data about southern Illinois landowners’ climate change perceptions were compared with qualitative interview responses about the array of ecosystem services accruing from their forestlands. Finally, an examination of applied techniques to meet current forestry challenges was facilitated through a partnership with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in central Illinois. Results indicate amenities and cultural ecosystem services - aesthetic, spiritual, recreational, and heritage values - are highly enjoyed among most private forest landowners and integral to their decision making. Many landowners perceive that cultural ecosystem services are compromised by active management for timber production, ecosystem restoration, climate change mitigation, or other outcomes. Findings suggest that synergistic management strategies merging the enjoyment of cultural ecosystem services with the production of other ecosystem services will effectively engage private forest landowners. A preliminary framework of these management strategies is proposed.
Issue Date:2011-08-25
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Jacob T. Hendee
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-08-25
Date Deposited:2011-08

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