Managing Private Forestlands Along the Public-Private Interface of Southern Illinois: Landowner Forestry Decisions in a Mulit-Jurisdictional Landscape

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Journal of Forest Economics and Policy

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Private forest landowners in the southernmost region of Illinois operate within a multijurisdictional, intermixed public–private landscape. As such, they operate within the context of traditionally studied drivers of forest management on private lands, but also manage their lands within the context of the contentious debate about how the Shawnee National Forest is managed. We posited that this debate about the management of public land could affect forest management actions on private parcels. We also studied the effects of traditional drivers in private forest landowner research: land characteristics, demographics, and landowner objectives. Mail survey results for private forest landowners in the southernmost 11 counties of Illinois were used to examine the factors influencing the adoption of four actions: seeking advice from a forester, obtaining a written forest management plan, doing a commercial timber harvest, and implementing timber stand improvement. Results highlighted that traditional personal factors—financial objectives and parcel size—were strongly related to forest landowner management action adoption. Landowners' actions were largely independent of proximity to the Shawnee National Forest and largely independent of overall satisfaction with Shawnee National Forest management. In the context of decreasing parcel size and generally low financial objectives for private forestland parcels, we emphasize the need for policy and practice to better adapt to address these trends in order to maintain sustainable forest management across the landscape.

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