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Ecosystem Service Supply and Capacity on U.S. Family Forestlands

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Caputo, Jesse ; Butler, Brett

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Individuals and families collectively own more than 118 million ha of forestland in the USA. Using data from the USDA Forest Service's National Woodland Owners Survey (NWOS), we characterize ecosystem services being produced on family forests as well as the beneficiaries who enjoy them. Approximately half of family forest owners provide one or more provisioning services. With the exception of logs, the provisioning services provided by the majority of owners are enjoyed directly by owners or their close associates (i.e., family, friends, and neighbors). Similarly, while more than half of family forest owners have provided recreational opportunities, a cultural service, to their close associates, fewer than 6% of owners have sold or provided recreational services to the general public. Regulating and supporting services are linked to the maintenance of long-term forest cover. Greater than 80% of family forest owners desire to maintain the forested condition of their land, whereas a much smaller percentage of these owners have entered into conservation easements or have collected money for conservation purposes. In addition, many owners have engaged in activities expected to increase the future capacity of their land to provide multiple ecosystem services, both excludable and non-excludable.


ecosystem services; family forests; wood products; recreation


Caputo, Jesse; Butler, Brett. 2017. Ecosystem Service Supply and Capacity on U.S. Family Forestlands. Forests. 8(10): 395. 14 p.

Last updated on: February 6, 2020