Research Review

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Whose Woods Are These? Big Changes Looming in Family Forest Ownership

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Some big changes in the northeastern and midwestern woods are coming in the next few decades, but it is more about people than trees. These changes will come about with the aging of the current generation of family forest owners. Twenty percent of America?s family forests are owned by people who are 75 years or older. Their lands (tens of millions of acres of family forests, that is, nonindustrial private forests) will ultimately be passed on to their heirs or sold to new owners. These lands are mostly in smaller parcels (less than 200 acres), but the sum total is astonishing. And what ultimately happens to these lands will affect the trees and the forests and consequently all of us. Forest fragmentation and development are a threat to the integrity of the forested watersheds on which the 123.4 million people (U.S. Census 2007 estimate) in cities, suburbs, and rural areas of the Northeast and Midwest depend.

View the Autumn 2008 Research Review (1.3 MB PDF)

For more information contact

Jane Hodgins
Public Affairs Specialist
USDA Forest Service - Northern Research Station
1992 Folwell Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55108


Last modified: October 21, 2008