Brett Butler

Brett Butler
USDA Forest Service · Northern Research Station

Doctor of Philosophy

About

106
Publications
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2,566
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Publications

Publications (106)
Article
Family forest owners (FFOs) hold a plurality of forestland in the United States, and programs and markets exist that compensate landowners for sequestering and storing increased carbon through extended rotations, improved forest management, and increased forest cover. We used USDA Forest Service National Woodland Owner Survey (NWOS) data from 2018...
Article
Full-text available
Small area estimation is a powerful modeling technique in which ancillary data can be utilized to “borrow” additional information, effectively increasing sample sizes in small spatial, temporal, or categorical domains. Though more commonly applied to biophysical variables within the study of forest inventory analyses, small area estimation can also...
Article
Full-text available
Privately-owned forests provide important environmental, economic, and cultural benefits to the general public. Resulting impacts from landownership changes and conversion of working forests to other land uses threaten these benefits. The USDA Forest Service Forest Legacy Program (FLP) permanently protects threatened private forests that are of env...
Article
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While there is a large literature on how individual homeowners perceive location-specific wildfire hazard, there is only one study specific to U.S. family forest owners. Using respondents from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service's National Woodland Owner Survey of family forest ownerships in the United States, we inves...
Article
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Private landowner participation in management initiatives can be encouraged by interventions, which must resonate with the underlying subjective motivations of the landowners. In this study, we use the Theory of Planned Behavior to gauge the relative influences of (1) attitudes; (2) subjective norms; and (3) perceived behavioral control on landowne...
Article
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Ownership of forestland in the United States has changed in recent decades, including the proliferation of timber investment management organizations (TIMOs) and real estate investment trusts (REITs), with the potential to alter forest management and timber supply. This article quantifies forest ownership transitions among ownership categories betw...
Article
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Forest insects and pathogens have significant impacts on U.S. forests, annually affecting an area nearly three times that of wildfires and timber harvesting combined. However, coupled with these direct effects of forest insects and pathogens are the indirect impacts through influencing forest management practices, such as harvesting. In an earlier...
Article
Invasive forest insect and pathogens (FIP) are having significant, direct, adverse impacts. Interactions between FIPs and forest owners have the potential to create ecosystem impacts that compound direct impacts. We assessed family forest owners' responses to numerous contingent behavior, FIP-outbreak scenarios in the northeastern USA based on FIP...
Article
Full-text available
Invasive forest insects can induce tree mortality in two ways: (a) by directly harming trees; or (b) by influencing forest owners to pre‐emptively harvest threatened trees. This study investigates forest owners’ intentions to harvest trees threatened by invasive insects. Our first objective is to identify and characterize agent functional types (AF...
Article
Family forest owners own more forestland in the United States than any other group. There have been no national studies of racial and ethnic minority family forest owners in the United States, in spite of increasing attention to diversity in forestry. Using the US Forest Service’s National Woodland Owner Survey data, we sought to better understand...
Chapter
While the quest for multiple, diversified benefit from forests is widely accepted, service offerings for family forest owners have been limited, mainly focusing on wood production related services. Consequently, new services truly focusing on other uses of forests are rare. However, there are several emerging forest uses that demand new kinds of se...
Chapter
Forest axioms ServiceService-dominant logic (S-D logic) are that “the Beneficiary is always a co-creator of Value” and “Value is always uniquely and phenomenologically determined by the Beneficiary.” Therefore, to understand the application of S-D logic to FamilyForestry it is imperative to understand Driver that are influencing FamilyForest owners...
Article
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The context within which family forest owners operate is constantly changing due to many internal and external factors. Many emerging social, economic, environmental, and technological changes could have profound effects on family forest owners and their land in the future. This paper explores a possible transformative technological change: A “Comi...
Preprint
Full-text available
Forest insects and pathogens (FIPs) have significant impacts on U.S. forests, each year affecting an area nearly three times the area of wildfires and timber harvesting combined. We surveyed family forest owners (FFOs) in the northeastern U.S. and 84% of respondents indicated they would harvest in at least one of the presented FIP infestation scena...
Article
Family forest owners in the United States have underscored the need for forest insect pest (FIP) information, and numerous Extension programs have been developed to meet pest information needs. We developed the Pest Awareness Index to illustrate the heterogeneity of familiarity, knowledge, and experience regarding three FIPs (hemlock woolly adelgid...
Preprint
Full-text available
Forest insects and pathogens (FIPs) play an important role in the complex interactions between woodland owners and the ecosystems they manage. Understanding the specifics of woodland owner decision-making with regard to trees impacted by FIPs can facilitate projections of future forest conditions and insect spread. Our first objective is to: (i) ch...
Article
Although a rich history of scholarship exists on the attitudes, past behaviors, and behavioral intentions of family forest owners, little is known about how these social factors change over time. Furthermore, linking behavioral intentions with actual behaviors of family forest owners will require a longitudinal design that re-measures behaviors of...
Preprint
Full-text available
Invasive forest insect and pathogens (FIP) are having significant, direct, adverse impacts. Interactions between FIPs and forest owners have the potential to create ecosystem impacts that compound direct impacts. We assessed family forest owners' responses to numerous contingent behavior, FIP-outbreak scenarios in the northeastern U.S. based on FIP...
Book
With this book, the reader will become familiar with services and service research as evolving phenomena in private, non-industrial family forestry. Targeted as learning material for higher-education students in Western economies, and as a handbook for forest scientists worldwide, the book has a strong theoretical base, but also a practical orienta...
Article
Full-text available
Sixty percent of family forest ownerships in the United States of America (USA) own between 0.4 and 4.0 ha (1–9 ac). Yet, little is known about this segment of family forest ownerships because they are often excluded from data collection or analyses. We utilized national data for the USA collected through the National Woodland Owner Survey to exami...
Article
Full-text available
Much of the family-forest-owned land in the United States is expected to change hands as current ownerships grow older and pass on their holdings. To date, little research has been conducted on this ownership decision. Using mail survey data from the northeastern United States, we explore family-forest-owner (FFO) legacy planning. We summarized FFO...
Article
Full-text available
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...
Article
Forested lands produce a multitude of societal benefits, and landowner decisions influence the provision of these benefits over space and time. The fate of over half of the 330 million hectares of forestland in the United States (U.S.) rests in the hands of private ownerships, and over 35% of U.S. forestland is owned by families. Landowner estate p...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Forest ownership size is a continuous variable, albeit one with a distinctly non-normal distribution. Although large corporate forest ownerships are expected to differ in terms of behavior and objectives from smaller corporate ownerships, there is no clear and unambiguous means of defining these two ownership groups. We examined the distribution of...
Article
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Individual behavior is influenced by factors intrinsic to the decision-maker but also associated with other individuals and their ownerships with such relationship intensified by geographic proximity. The land management literature is scarce in the spatially integrated analysis of biophysical and socio-economic data. Localized land management decis...
Article
In terms of adult tree mortality, harvesting is the most prevalent disturbance in northeastern United States forests. Previous studies have demonstrated that stand structure and tree species composition are important predictors of harvest. We extend this work to investigate how social factors further influence harvest regimes. By coupling the Fores...
Article
Full-text available
In the United States, 58% of the 11 million family forest ownerships with at least 10 acres of forestland have at least one female owner. Within the single-owner population of landowners, women are the sole owners of and primary decisionmakers for 31% of ownerships. Despite the number of female family forest owners (FFOs), little research has focus...
Article
There are an estimated 10.7 million family forest ownerships across the United States who collectively control 36% or 290 million acres of the nation’s forestland. The US Department of Agriculture Forest Service National Woodland Owner Survey (NWOS) provides information on the characteristics, attitudes, and behaviors of these ownerships. Between 2...
Article
To maximize the representativeness of results from surveys, coverage, sampling, nonresponse, measurement, and analysis errors must be minimized. Although not a cure-all, one approach for mitigating nonresponse errors is to maximize cooperation rates. In this study, personalizing mailings, token financial incentives, and the use of real stamps were...
Article
Understanding differences and similarities among family forest owners is important in the context of forest land conservation. This study assesses similarities and differences in landowners by analyzing life cycle effects, cohort differences, and period-specific events that shape people’s attitudes and behaviors towards their forestland over time....
Article
In 2007, a series of focus groups with family forest owners was conducted as part of a social marketing initiative with the aim of increasing conservation activities on private forestlands. Participants in the study were asked how they perceive and experience their land and how they understand certain terminology used by forestry professionals. Res...
Article
The recent rise of institutional timberland ownership has led to a significant change in the structure and conduct of the timber industry in the United States. In this study, we apply a two-period harvest model to assess the timber harvesting behavior of various landowners at the stand level by utilizing USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Ana...
Article
Full-text available
Using data collected from a series of focus groups, this study examines how landowner assistance programs (which may include management plans, cost-share, technical assistance and advice, and education components) affect family forest owner behaviour in the USA. Not surprisingly, most owners who participated in assistance programs had pre-existing...
Article
Full-text available
Timberland owners have different objectives and apply different management methods and management intensities to their lands. In this study, we look into the reforestation behaviors of various timberland owners in the southern United States based on plot-level data from the latest complete USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis cycle. Ou...
Article
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In this study, we examine how family forest owners who receive various types of assistance differ from unassisted landowners with respect to their forestland management practices, attitudes and concerns, and future management, use, and ownership intentions. We do so by utilizing a national database containing information on private forest owners an...
Chapter
Full-text available
Interactions between changes in biophysical environments (climate, disturbance, and ecological function) and human responses to those changes (management and policy) will determine the effects of climate change on human communities. Effects of climate change on forests could result in a ripple effect of policy and economic response on economic sect...
Article
The Northern United States includes the 20 states bounded by Maine, Maryland, Missouri, and Minnesota. With 70 million ha of forestland and 124 million people, it is the most densely forested (42% of land area) and most densely populated (74 people/km2) quadrant of the United States. Three recent, large-scale, multiresource assessments of forest co...
Article
Cost-share programs are commonly-used policy tools designed to influence management on privately-owned lands. Widely popular on agricultural lands, these programs and their association with landowner behavior have not been as thoroughly studied on forested lands. Based on a dataset of over 3500 observations and using propensity score matching to re...
Article
Increasingly, private landowners are participating in conservation easement programs, but their effects on land management remain to be addressed. Data from the USDA Forest Service National Woodland Owner Survey for the US Northern Region were used to investigate how conservation easement participation is associated with selected past and future fo...
Article
Full-text available
The USDA Forest Service's Forest Stewardship Program (FSP) is the nation’s most prominent private forestry assistance program. We examined FSP using a multiple analytic approach: analysis of annual FSP accomplishments; survey of state FSP coordinators; analytic comparison of family forest owners (FFOs) receiving and not receiving forestry practice...
Article
Focus groups were conducted with family forest owners to investigate the effect of government tax policies on their decisions regarding their land. Two groups each were held in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Alabama, Wisconsin, and Washington, USA, one with owners enrolled in the state preferential property tax program for forested land and one wit...
Technical Report
This report summarizes the second full cycle of annual inventories, 2007-2011, of Ohio's forests by the Forest Inventory and Analysis unit of the Northern Research Station in cooperation with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry. Since 2006, forest land increased by 2.1 percent and currently totals 8.1 million acres. Net v...
Article
Full-text available
The USDA Forest Service's National Woodland Owner Survey (NWOS) is conducted to better understand the attitudes and behaviors of private forest ownerships, which control more than half of US forestland. Inferences about the populations of interest should be based on theoretically sound estimation procedures. A recent review of the procedures disclo...
Article
Full-text available
Taxes are a prominent policy tool and one of a number of factors that have the potential to influence the decisions of the millions of family forest owners across the United States. After a literature review, tax policies most relevant to family forest owners were catalogued, preferential property tax program administrators were surveyed, focus gro...
Article
Full-text available
We have compiled an exhaustive list of timberland investment management organizations (TIMOs) and timberland real estate investment trusts (REITs) and used USDA Forest Service, Forest Inventory Analysis data to quantify their acreage, distribution, dynamics, and management practices. We find that TIMOs and REITs own/manage about 16 million ac or 10...
Article
Full-text available
Private forestlands in the United States are important for public recreation, but access to them may be threatened. Using the US Forest Service's National Woodland Owner Survey, we examined the following questions: (1) How prevalent is public recreational access on family forestland? (2) What influences whether a family forest owner allows public a...
Article
Full-text available
Family forest landowners have traditionally been considered fairly homogeneous. A number of new studies in the past decade, however, have demonstrated that landowners and their reasons for owning forestland differ substantially. These landowners own approximately 35% of our nation's forestland, and they warrant further research concerning these dif...
Article
The Conservation Awareness Index (CAI) is a new, necessary survey instrument designed to assess family forest conservation progress. This article describes the rationale, development, and pilot testing of the CAI, which estimates family forest owner awareness (including familiarity, knowledge, and experience) of forest conservation options and sour...
Article
Full-text available
Forest owners in Massachusetts (U.S.) live in a densely populated state and near forestland that is under pressure of development and characterized by small parcel size. Forest-based biomass harvesting in Massachusetts is a renewable energy topic generating a great deal of discussion among all constituents. To provide perspective on these discussio...
Article
Full-text available
In the United States, 35% of the forestland is owned by family forest owners with approximately 0.2% of this land reported to be enrolled in a forest certification system. The current study was conducted to provide insights into factors influencing family forest owners’ decisions to certify their lands. The bivariate probit model with sample sele...
Article
One-third of the forestland in the U.S. is owned by 10.4 million family forest owners. Their collective decisions have a great impact on the sustainability of forest landscape across the country. Public policies and programs for encouraging landowners to properly manage their land include cost-share, forest certification, and conservation easements...
Article
U.S. forests, including family-owned forests, are a potential source of biomass for renewable energy. Family forest owners constitute a significant portion of the overall forestland in the U.S., yet little is known about family forest owners' preferences for supplying wood-based biomass. The goal of this study is to understand how Massachusetts fam...
Article
The United States Forest Service measures successful management of the urban forest by the number of communities that have achieved some or all of four parameters described by the Community Accomplishment Reporting System. The four parameters address whether a community has: (1) a management plan, (2) professional staff, (3) urban forestry ordinanc...
Article
Full-text available
U.S. forests, including family-owned forests, are important carbon sinks and sources for carbon sequestration. Family forest owners constitute a significant portion of the overall forestland in the U.S., but little is known about their preferences for participating in carbon sequestration programs. The goal of this research is to understand what mo...
Article
Full-text available
The number of family forest owners in the USA has increased continuously in recent decades, and the fate of much of US forests lies in the hands of this diverse and dynamic group of people. The National Woodland Owner Survey (NWOS) is a recurring and comprehensive national survey of US private forest owners, including family forest owners. The NWOS...
Article
Full-text available
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...
Article
Full-text available
The availability of wood, be it harvested for sawlogs, pulpwood, biomass, or other products, is constrained by social and biophysical factors. Knowing the difference between social and biophysical availability is important for understanding what can realistically be extracted. This study focuses on the wood located in family forests across the nort...
Article
The second full annual inventory of Nebraska’s forests reports more than 1.5 million acres of forest land and 39 tree species. Forest land is dominated by the elm/ash/cottonwood and oak/hickory forest types, which occupy nearly half of the total forest land area. The volume of growing stock on timberland currently totals 1.1 billion cubic feet. The...
Chapter
Full-text available
The chapter focuses on exploring the impacts of urbanization on changes in forestland use/land cover in Alabama for the period between 1972 and 2000. Nested logit analysis of the discrete land use choices made by the private landowners show that initial forest type and population gravity index significantly explain the variation in forest type tran...