Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Agricultural and Resource Economics

Committee Chair

David W McGill

Committee Co-Chair

Kathryn Gazal

Committee Member

Emily Perdue

Committee Member

Ben D Spong


The majority of forestland in America is privately owned. Family forest owners own 62% of all private forestland in America. In West Virginia family forest owners own 6.5 million acres (53%) of all forestland in the state. Timber harvesting from these family forests is crucial to the states and nations timber industry. We examined family forest owners' experiences during the complex timber transaction process. This process covers the time from when the landowner decides to sell timber until all harvest, legal, and financial aspects are completed. We conducted a focus group with nine participants representing eight different family owned forests in West Virginia, who were recently involved in a timber transaction. In this focus group, five main themes emerged that affect timber transaction experiences. These include, Decision for the Sale, Peoples' Involvement During the Sale, Knowledge about Selling Timber, Trust of People and Legal Aspect in Selling Timber. These findings will help inform future family forests owners about how to achieve a successful and satisfactory timber transactions. The information gained will also help in the creation of a future mailed questionnaire designed to capture family forest owners' experiences during the timber transaction process.