Date of Award

2005

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Forest Resources

Advisor

David B. Field

Second Committee Member

Alan J. Kimball

Third Committee Member

Kathleen P. Bell

Abstract

Owners of small, non-industrial woodland parcels in the United States maintain heterogeneous management goals for their individual parcels. Research has shown that timber harvesting is becoming less of a priority for this landowner group. In addition, average parcel size for these ownerships has decreased noticeably over the past 20 years. Parcelization, forest fragmentation and the presence of varied landowner goals complicate the matter of conducting ecologically sound, financially feasible forest management. The purpose of this study was to present thee forestry cooperative models to small, non-industrial woodland owners in Maine and to ascertain interest levels. Cooperative models were based on existing organizations have been designed to facilitate ecologically sensitive forest management. The cooperatives are focused on endorsing active timber production in an ecological context while addressing the multitude of landowner objectives. A survey was sent to 1500 landowners in the organized townships of Maine with a response rate of 3 1.3 percent (470 total useable returns). Questions were designed to explore landowner management priorities, landowner satisfaction with their current management regime, and interest in the three cooperative models. Chisquare analysis was used and logistic regression models were created to test the impact of various landowner characteristics on interest in the three cooperatives. Of the three models, landowner interest was highest for the "Network", followed by the "Marketing Cooperative". Least popular was the "Woods Bank" in which landowners relinquish property rights for an annual dividend based on the fair market value of their land. Interest in cooperatives in general was positively correlated with the desire to protect nature and biological diversity, an interest in cooperation for the purposes of ecosystem management, the desire to collectively own wood processing facilities for the purposes of retaining more of the value-added from wood harvested, and a long planning horizon for recreation activities. Some differences were evident regarding interest in the three individual cooperative organizations.

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