Woodlots in the rural landscape: Landowner motivations and management attitudes in a Michigan (USA) case study

Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA
Landscape and Urban Planning (Impact Factor: 3.04). 02/2002; DOI: 10.1016/S0169-2046(01)00213-4


Woodlots provide important environmental benefits in the Midwestern (USA) landscape, where they are undergoing rapid change. An increasingly diverse farm and non-farm population owns these non-industrial private forests (NIPFs). It is essential to understand what motivates NIPF landowners to retain and manage their forests. We describe a study of NIPF owners in an agricultural watershed where forest cover is increasing. What motivations and management practices might be contributing to this increase? The results of a survey of 112 NIPF owners suggest that aesthetic appreciation is the strongest motivator for retaining woodlots, especially by non-farmers. Protecting the environment also seems to be important for both farmers and non-farmers, while economic motivations are significantly less important. Landowners indicated that they are primarily taking a “hands-off” approach to management. This study provides insights for those interested in understanding NIPF landowners’ motivations and for developing effective programs.

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Available from: Raymond K De Young, Oct 09, 2015
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    • "These financial incentives are intended to tip the scale in favor of VIP preferred land management practices under the rational choice assumption that individuals use cost–benefit analysis to choose the most advantageous management option to meet ownership objectives among all possible known alternatives. This approach is sound in theory but, in practice, enrollment in VIPs has been notoriously low (Erickson et al., 2002; Mayer and Tikka, 2006; Ma et al., 2012). Although it is possible that the financial incentives of VIPs are simply too low to illicit significant levels of voluntary cooperation, we argue that low enrollment is also due to the effects of social influence on landowner choices and decision-making (Bliss and Martin, 1989; Bieling, 2004). "
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    • "These actions and plans were to make properties more ''wildlife-friendly,'' by removing or changing fencing to ''allow safe passage for kangaroos'' and prevent micro-bats and gliders becoming entangled in barbed wire. These findings contrast with previous studies that found no evidence of conscious neighborly environmental management cooperation among American NIPFOs (Erickson et al. 2002) and Australian lifestyle landowners (Klepeis et al. 2009; Gill et al. 2010). Some landholders in the current study were also engaged in ''noncooperative'' cross-boundary forest management. "
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