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Family Forest Owner Trends in the Northern United States

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Northern Journal of Applied Forestry. 28(1): 13-18.


Understanding forest ownership trends is critical for understanding forest trends. In the northern United States, where 55% of the forestland is controlled by families and individuals, it is imperative that we understand the trends within this complex and dynamic group of owners. The US Forest Service conducted forest landowner surveys across this region, and the rest of the United States, in 1993 and 2006. The published results are not directly comparable because of differences in what was reported and how the data were processed. Fortunately, the same sample designs were used and a subset of identical or near identical questions was asked on both surveys so that reprocessing the data allows for trends to be accurately assessed. The average size of family forest holdings decreased from 25 to 20 ac, reasons for owning remained amenity centered, and the owners are now more likely to be older, retired, have a higher income, and more educated.


private forest owners; nonindustrial private forest owners; National Woodland Owner Survey; parcelization; demographics


Butler, Brett J.; Ma, Zhao. 2011. Family Forest Owner Trends in the Northern United States. Northern Journal of Applied Forestry, 28(1): 13-18.

Last updated on: March 25, 2011