Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Forest Resource Management

Committee Chair

Kathryn G Arano


Private forest landowners own the largest share of the forest land in the United States. Future timber supply requires forest management and investment by these private forest landowners. Since private forest landowners are diverse, understanding the factors affecting the forest management decisions of these individuals is important. Two analyses are presented in this study to characterize the forest management decisions of West Virginia NIPF landowners and to understand their forest management decisions. The data for the study was collected from a mail survey conducted in August 2005 to 2100 landowners in West Virginia. The survey resulted in 244 useful responses, a 20% response rate.;The first analysis characterized West Virginia's NIPF landowners. NIPF landowners were mostly small forestland holders with a median forest size of 43 acres. Aesthetic enjoyment and place of residence were the two most important reasons for owning their forestland. Approximately 97% of the forestland was owned by 7% of landowners for whom timber sale was the primary reason for owning the forestland. The majority of the landowners managed their land on their own and only 12% of the landowners had a written forest management plan. Though less than 13% of the landowners were engaged in any type of forest management activities (e.g., timber harvest, tree planting, fertilization, road construction, survey, thinning, timber stand improvement, wildlife habitat improvement, etc.) in 2004, 59% of the landowners had been engaged in some type of forest management activity in the past. Only 21% of the landowners had harvested any timber from 2000 to 2004. Landowners' participation in educational and forestry assistance/incentive programs has been minimal.;The second analysis employed logistic regression, a limited dependent variable model, to examine the factors affecting the decision of landowners to engage in (1) timber harvest, (2) silvicultural activities (tree planting, fertilization, herbicide application, grapevine control, thinning, and timber stand improvement), (3) property management activities (road construction, road maintenance, access control, and survey/boundary maintenance), and (4) wildlife habitat improvement and recreation improvement. The independent variables examined were landowner characteristics (i.e., age, education, occupation, income), ownership characteristics (size of the landholding, distance of the nearest forest parcel from the place of residence, year of first parcel acquisition, mode of acquisition), and management characteristics (objectives, who manages the forestland, presence of a written forest management plan). Results showed that landowner, ownership and management characteristics of the NIPF landowners are influential factors in determining their involvement in forest management activities.