Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Forest Resource Management

Committee Chair

Dave McGill

Committee Member

Joseph McNeel

Committee Member

Kathryn Arano Gazal


Forest industries in the eastern U.S. rely heavily on family forest owners to supply fiber needs for their mills. As of 2017, 79 percent of West Virginia is classified as forestland and of this roughly 86.5 percent is privately owned. With such a heavy reliance on wood from private forest lands, family forest owner satisfaction is extremely important if companies want to continue harvesting or working with these landowners in the future.

Timber transactions are complex. No two timber transactions are exactly the same. They often involve many different parties apart from the landowner. Site conditions, land cover, and landowner goals all are major factors that influence the outcome of a timber harvest. A timber harvest can leave a property completely transformed. For better or worse the property will not be the same as before the harvest. Timber harvests are common in West Virginia many lack the use of a forester. Without a forester, landowners are likely at a competitive disadvantage when negotiating timber contracts and accomplishing their goals and future of their properties.

The goal of this study was to explore ways to alleviate common pitfalls that lead to legal or financial issues that are associated with timber transactions. We carried out a mail-based survey to landowners who had recently harvested timber from their West Virginia properties. In this paper, we explore the relationships between landowner satisfaction with a harvest, their property attributes, management goals, and the types of professional assistance they received during their timber transaction.

Many attributes selected to represent conditions and events during timber transactions were found to be significantly related to the overall satisfaction of landowners following timbering operations. The adequacy of several of the attributes were used as indicators of landowners’ perception of service quality. Having a forestry professional assist with the timber sale enhanced the likelihood that landowners would be satisfied with timbering outcomes.