Public-Private Interactions in the Conservation of Private Forests in the United States

  • Tatyana B. RusevaEmail author
  • Burnell C. Fischer
Part of the Human-Environment Interactions book series (HUEN, volume 1)


This chapter discusses the investment decisions of private and public actors in the USA regarding the management and conservation of private forests. Managed by nearly 11 million private owners, these forestlands provide valuable ecological, economic, and social benefits to society. What happens on these lands as a result of public and private investment decisions has implications for society, both in the present and in the future. First, this chapter reviews the interactions between private and public actors in private forestry. A typology is proposed that characterizes public and private investments in forestlands based on their target audiences (e.g., a private investment decision for largely public benefit). This chapter next explores the different ownership features and uses of forests over time and space. The discussion centers on the challenges and opportunities of governing private forests as a bundle of property rights within the proposed typology of public-private interactions in private forestry.


Forest Owner Private Land Private Forest Private Landowner Private Forest Owner 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Agranoff, R., & McGuire, M. (2003). Inside the matrix: Integrating the paradigms of intergovernmental and network management. International Journal of Public Administration, 26(12), 1401–1422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Agrawal, A., Chhatre, A., & Hardin, R. (2008). Changing governance of the world’s forests. Science, 320(5882), 1460–1462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aldrich, R., & Wyerman, J. (2005). 2005 National land trust census report. Washington, DC: Land Trust Alliance.Google Scholar
  4. Alig, R., Latta, G., Adams, D., & McCarl, B. (2010). Mitigating greenhouse gases: The importance of land base interactions between forests, agriculture, and residential development in the face of changes in bioenergy and carbon prices. Forest Policy and Economics, 12, 67–75. doi: 10.1016/j.forpol.2009.09.012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Allred, S., & Goff, G. (2009). The power of peer learning programs in natural resources. Rural New York Minute, 32(August 2009) (Published by Human Dimensions Research Unit and Community & Rural Development Institute, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY).Google Scholar
  6. Arano, K. G., Munn, I. A., Gunter, J. E., Bullard, S. H., & Doolittle, M. L. (2004). Comparison between regenerators and non-regenerators in Mississippi: A discriminant analysis. Southern Journal of Applied Forestry, 28(4), 189–195.Google Scholar
  7. Barten, P. K., Damery, D., Catanzaro, P., Fish, J., Campbell, S., Fabos, A., et al. (2001). Massachusetts family forests: Birth of a landowner cooperative. Journal of Forestry, 99(3), 23–30.Google Scholar
  8. Bascompte, J. (2009). Disentangling the web of life. Science, 325(5939), 416–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Beach, R., Pattanayak, S., Yang, J., Murray, B., & Abt, R. (2005). Econometric studies of non-industrial private forest management: A review and synthesis. Forest Policy and Economics, 7(3), 261–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bengston, D. N., Asah, S. T., & Butler, B. J. (2011). The diverse values and motivations of family forest owners in the United States: An analysis of an open-ended question in the National Woodland Owner Survey. Small-Scale Forestry, 10, 339–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Best, C. (2004). Non-governmental organizations: More owners and smaller parcels pose major stewardship challenges. Journal of Forestry, 102(7), 10–11.Google Scholar
  12. Best, C., & Wayburn, L. (2001). America’s private forests: Status and stewardship. Washington, DC: Island Press.Google Scholar
  13. Bliss, J. C. (2001). Extension and the future of family forests: Making connections. Published by International Union of Forestry Research Organizations, provided by The Regional Institute Ltd. Accessed 15 Nov 2010.
  14. Bliss, J. C., & Kelly, E. C. (2008). Comparative advantages of small-scale forestry among emerging forest tenures. Small-Scale Forestry, 7, 95–104. doi: 10.1007/s11842-008-9043-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bliss, J. C., Kelly, E. C., Abrams, J., Bailey, C., & Dyer, J. (2010). Disintegration of the U.S. industrial forest estate: Dynamics, trajectories, and questions. Small-Scale Forestry, 9, 53–66. doi: 10.1007/s11842-009-9101-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Bodin, Ö., & Crona, B. (2009). The role of social networks in natural resource governance: What relational patterns make a difference? Global Environmental Change, 19(3), 366–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Bodin, Ö., Crona, B., & Ernstson, H. (2006). Social networks in natural resource management: What is there to learn from a structural perspective? Ecology and Society, 11(2), resp. 2 [online].
  18. Borgatti, S. P., Mehra, A., Brass, D. J., & Labianca, G. (2009). Network analysis in the social sciences. Science, 323(5916), 892–895.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Bruyere, B., Teel, T., & Newman, P. (2009). Response to more kids in the woods: Reconnecting Americans with nature. Journal of Forestry, 107, 378–379.Google Scholar
  20. Butler, B. J. (2008). Family forest owners of the United States, 2006 (General Technical Report NRS-27). Newtown Square: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station.Google Scholar
  21. Butler, B. J., & Leatherberry, E. C. (2004). America’s family forest owners. Journal of Forestry, 102, 4–14.Google Scholar
  22. Chazdon, R. L. (2008). Beyond deforestation: Restoring forests and ecosystem services on degraded lands. Science, 320(5882), 1458–1460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Costanza, R., & Farber, S. (2002). Introduction to the special issue on the dynamics and value of ecosystem services: Integrating economic and ecological perspectives. Ecological Economics, 41(3), 367–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Crona, B., & Bodin, Ö. (2006). What you know is who you know? Communication patterns among resource users as a prerequisite for co-management. Ecology and Society, 11(2), art. 7 [online].
  25. Crossley, N., Prell, C., & Scott, J. (2009). Social network analysis: introduction to special edition. Methodological Innovations Online, 4, 1–7,
  26. D’Amato, A. W., Catanzaro, P. F., Damery, D. T., Kittredge, D. B., & Ferrare, K. A. (2010). Are family forest owners facing a future in which forest management is not enough? Journal of Forestry, 108, 32–38.Google Scholar
  27. Daniels, S. E., Kilgore, M. A., Jacobson, M. G., Greene, J. L., & Straka, T. J. (2010). Examining the compatibility between forestry incentive programs in the US and the practice of sustainable forest management. Forests, 1, 49–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Dauvergne, P., & Lister, J. (2011). Timber. Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  29. Davis, M., Steiner, L. E., & Fly, J. M. (2010). Do you hear what i hear: Better understanding how forest management is conceptualized and practiced by private forest landowners. Journal of Forestry, 108(6), 321–328.Google Scholar
  30. de Groot, R. S., Wilson, M. A., & Boumans, R. M. J. (2002). A typology for the classification, description and valuation of ecosystem functions, goods and services. Ecological Economics, 41(3), 393–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Dietz, T., Ostrom, E., & Stern, P. C. (2003). The struggle to govern the commons. Science, 302, 1907–1912.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Egan, A. F. (1999). Reducing forest road erosion: Do foresters and logging contracts matter? Journal of Forestry, 97(8), 36–39.Google Scholar
  33. Ellefson, P. V., Kilgore, M. A., & Granskog, J. E. (2007). Government regulation of forestry practices on private forest land in the United States: An assessment of state government responsibilities and program performance. Forest Policy and Economics, 9(6), 620–632.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. ESA (Endangered Species Act of 1973 As Amended through the 108th Congress). (2005).
  35. Ernstson, H., Sörlin, S., & Elmqvist, T. (2008). Social movements and ecosystem services—The role of social network structure in protecting and managing urban green areas in Stockholm. Ecology and Society, 13(2), art. 39 [online].
  36. Evans, T. P., Donnelly, S., & Sweeney, S. (2010). Threats to the forest transition in the Midwest United States. In H. Nagendra & J. Southworth (Eds.), Reforesting landscapes: Linking pattern and process (pp. 175–203). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  37. Fischer, B. C., & Ruseva, T. B. (2010). What is happening in and outside America’s private woodlands? Journal of Forestry, 108(6), 304–306.Google Scholar
  38. Fishbein, M., & Ajzen, I. (2010). Predicting and changing human behavior: The reasoned action approach. East Sussex: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  39. Fisher, B., Turner, R. K., & Morling, P. (2009). Defining and classifying ecosystem services for decision making. Ecological Economics, 68(3), 643–653.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Freeman, L. C. (2004). The development of social network analysis: A study in the sociology of science. Vancouver: Empirical Press.Google Scholar
  41. Gass, R., Rickenbach, M., Schulte, L., & Zeuli, K. (2009). Cross-boundary coordination on forested landscapes: Investigating alternatives for implementation. Environmental Management, 43(1), 107–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Gatzweiler, F. W. (2006). Organizing a public ecosystem service economy for sustaining biodiversity. Ecological Economics, 59(3), 296–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Greene, J., Daniels, S., Jacobson, M., Kilgore, M., & Straka, T. (2010). Financial incentive programs for non-industrial private forest owners. USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station. Accessed 26 Sept 2011.
  44. Heath, S., Fuller, A., & Johnston, B. (2009). Chasing shadows: Defining network boundaries in qualitative social network analysis. Qualitative Research, 9(5), 645–661.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. IDNR (Indiana Department of Natural Resources). (n.d.). IDNR Division of Forestry strategic plan 2008–2013. Accessed 11 Oct 2010.
  46. Janssen, M. A., Bodin, Ö., Anderies, J. M., Elmqvist, T., Ernstson, H., McAllister, R. R. J., et al. (2006). Toward a network perspective of the study of resilience in social-ecological systems. Ecology and Society, 11(1), art. 15 [online].
  47. Kauneckis, D., & York, A. (2009). An empirical evaluation of private landowner participation in voluntary forest conservation programs. Environmental Management, 44(3), 468–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Kendra, A., & Hull, R. B. (2005). Motivations and behaviors of new forest owners in Virginia. Forest Science, 51(2), 142–154.Google Scholar
  49. Kilgore, M. A. (2004). Public forest policies and the family forest. Journal of Forestry, 102(7), 11–12.Google Scholar
  50. Kilgore, M. A., Greene, J. L., Jacobson, M. G., Straka, T. J., & Daniels, S. E. (2007). The influence of financial incentive programs in promoting sustainable forestry on the nation’s family forests. Journal of Forestry, 105(4), 184–191.Google Scholar
  51. Kilgore, M. A., Snyder, S., Taff, S., & Schertz, J. (2008). Family forest stewardship: Do owners need a financial incentive? Journal of Forestry, 106(7), 357–362.Google Scholar
  52. Kimbell, A. R., Schuhmann, A., & Brown, H. (2009). More kids in the woods: Reconnecting Americans with nature. Journal of Forestry, 107, 373–377.Google Scholar
  53. Kittredge, D. B. (2005). The cooperation of private forest owners on scales larger than one individual property: International examples and potential application in the United States. Forest Policy and Economics, 7(4), 671–688.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Knoot, T., & Rickenbach, M. (2011). Best management practices and timber harvesting: The role of social networks in shaping landowner decisions. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, 26(2), 171–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Knoot, T., Schulte, L., & Rickenbach, M. (2010). Oak conservation and restoration on private forestlands: Negotiating a social-ecological landscape. Environmental Management, 45(1), 155–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Koontz, T. M. (2001). Money talks – But to whom? Financial versus nonmonetary motivations in land use decisions. Society and Natural Resources, 14, 51–65.Google Scholar
  57. Koontz, T. M., Steelman, T. A., Carmin, J. A., Smith Korfmacher, K., Moseley, C., & Thomas, C. W. (2004). Collaborative environmental management: What roles for government? Washington, DC: RFF Press.Google Scholar
  58. Kroeger, T., & Casey, F. (2007). An assessment of market-based approaches to providing ecosystem services on agricultural lands. Ecological Economics, 64(2), 321–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Kueper, A. M., & Sagor, E. S. (2011). Peer learning and landowner networks: Lessons from five case studies. St. Paul: University of Minnesota Extension.*BZPf7KAIPoJRKZLv5j*QvfNBZSXQPXrmS2acIWfSkkJMnGFyLInG6hqbSnuFJWtvhgX9DL0*Y7B3/AMKresearchoverviewfinalPDF.pdf. Accessed 15 Sept 2011.
  60. Lubchenco, J. (1998). Earth’s unruly tenant: Credible science and human impacts on global ecology. Open Spaces, 2(1) [online].
  61. Munroe, D. K., & York, A. M. (2003). Jobs, houses, and trees: Changing regional structure, local land-use patterns, and forest cover in southern Indiana. Growth and Change, 34(3), 299–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Nagendra, H. (2007). Drivers of reforestation in human-dominated forests. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(39), 15218–15223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Nagubadi, V., McNamara, K. T., Hoover, W. L., & Mills, W. L., Jr. (1996). Program participation behavior of nonindustrial forest landowners: A probit analysis. Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, 28(2), 323–336.Google Scholar
  64. NASF (National Association of State Foresters). (2010). State foresters concerned that president’s budget will fall short in meeting conservation goals on all lands. Press release. Washington, DC: NASF. Accessed 17 Sept 2011.
  65. Nowak, D. J., & Walton, J. T. (2005). Projected urban growth (2000–2050) and its estimated impact on the US forest resource. Journal of Forestry, 103(8), 383–389.Google Scholar
  66. Nowak, D. J., Walton, J. T., Dwyer, J. F., Kaya, L. G., & Myeonng, S. (2005). The increasing influence of urban environments on US forest management. Journal of Forestry, 103(8), 377–382.Google Scholar
  67. NRC (National Research Council), (1998). Forested landscapes in perspective: Prospects and opportunities for sustainable management of America’s nonfederal forests. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  68. Nybakk, E., Crespell, P., Hansen, E., & Lunnan, A. (2009). Antecedents to forest owner innovativeness: An investigation of the non-timber forest products and services sector. Forest Ecology and Management, 257(2), 608–618.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Oakerson, R. J. (1999). Governing local public economies: Creating the civic metropolis. Richmond: ICS Press.Google Scholar
  70. Olsson, P., Folke, C., Galaz, V., Hahn, T., & Schultz, L. (2007). Enhancing the fit through adaptive co-management: Creating and maintaining bridging functions for matching scales in the Kristianstads Vattenrike Biosphere Reserve Sweden. Ecology and Society, 12(1), art. 28 [online].
  71. Ostrom, E. (1998). The comparative study of public economies. The American Economist, 42(1), 3–17.Google Scholar
  72. Ostrom, E. (2005). Understanding institutional diversity. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  73. Ostrom, E. (2009). A general framework for analyzing sustainability of social-ecological systems. Science, 325(5939), 419–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Ostrom, V., & Ostrom, E. (1999). Public goods and public choices. In M. D. McGinnis (Ed.), Polycentricity and local public economies: Readings from the workshop in political theory and policy analysis (pp. 75–106). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  75. Persha, L., Agrawal, A., & Chhatre, A. (2011). Social and ecological synergy: Local rulemaking, forest livelihoods, and biodiversity conservation. Science, 331(6024), 1606–1608.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Pescosolido, B. A. (1992). Beyond rational choice: The social dynamics of how people seek help. The American Journal of Sociology, 97(4), 1096–1138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Pescosolido, B. A. (2007). Sociology of social networks. In C. D. Bryant & D. L. Peck (Eds.), 21st century sociology: A reference handbook (Vol. 1, pp. 208–217). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  78. Prokopy, L. S., Floress, K., Klotthor-Weinkauf, D., & Baumgart-Getz, A. (2008). Determinants of agricultural best management practice adoption: Evidence from the literature. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 63(5), 300–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Rhodes, R. A. W. (2007). Understanding governance: Ten years on. Organization Studies, 28(8), 1243–1264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Rickenbach, M. (2009). Serving members and reaching others: The performance and social networks of a landowner cooperative. Forest Policy and Economics, 11, 593–599.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Rickenbach, M., & Jahnke, A. (2006). Wisconsin private sector foresters’ involvement in nonindustrial private forestland cross-boundary forestry practices. Northern Journal of Applied Forestry, 23(2), 100–105.Google Scholar
  82. Rickenbach, M., Schulte, L. A., Kittredge, D. B., Labich, W. G., & Shinneman, D. J. (2011). Cross-boundary cooperation: A mechanism for sustaining ecosystem services from private lands. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 66(4), 91A–96A.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Ross-Davis, A. L., Broussard, S. R., Jacobs, D. F., & Davis, A. S. (2005). Afforestation motivations of private landowners: An examination of hardwood tree plantings in Indiana. Northern Journal of Applied Forestry, 22(3), 149–153.Google Scholar
  84. Rudel, T. (2010). Three paths to forest expansion: A comparative historical analysis. In H. Nagendra & J. Southworth (Eds.), Reforesting landscapes: Linking pattern and process (pp. 45–57). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  85. Rudel, T. K., Coomes, O. T., Moran, E., Achard, F., Angelsen, A., Xu, J., et al. (2005). Forest transitions: Towards a global understanding of land use change. Global Environmental Change Part A, 15(1), 23–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Ruhl, J. B., Kraft, S. E., & Lant, C. L. (2007). The law and policy of ecosystem services. Washington, DC: Island Press.Google Scholar
  87. Ruhl, J. B., Kraft, S. E., & Lant, C. L. (2008). The tragedy of ecosystem services. Bioscience, 58(10), 969–975.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Sampson, N. (2004). Responses to “America’s family forest owners”: Implications for forest production. Journal of Forestry, 102(7), 12–13.Google Scholar
  89. Sampson, N., & DeCoster, L. (2000). Forest fragmentation: Implications for sustainable private forests. Journal of Forestry, 98, 4–8.Google Scholar
  90. Schaaf, K. A., & Broussard, S. R. (2006). Private forest policy tools: A national survey exploring the American public’s perceptions and support. Forest Policy and Economics, 9, 316–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Schlager, E., & Ostrom, E. (1992). Property rights regimes and natural resources: A conceptual analysis. Land Economics, 68(3), 249–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Schroeder, J., Becker, D. R., & Kilgore, M. A. (2011). State forestry programs, budget strategies, and the recession (Staff Paper Series, No. 213). St. Paul: Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota.Google Scholar
  93. Smith, W. B., Miles, P. D., Perry, C. H., & Pugh, S. A. (Coords.). (2009). Forest resources of the United States, 2007 (General Technical Report WO-78). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington Office.Google Scholar
  94. Stein, S. M., McRoberts, R. E., Alig, R. J., Nelson, M. D., Theobald, D. M., Eley, M., et al. (2005). Forests on the edge: Housing development on America’s private forests (General Technical Report PNW-GTR-636). Portland: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station.Google Scholar
  95. Stein, S. M., McRoberts, R. E., Mahal, L. G., Carr, M. A., Alig, R. J., Comas, S. J., et al. (2009). Private forests, public benefits: Increased housing density and other pressures on private forest contributions (General Technical Report PNW-GTR-795). Portland: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station.Google Scholar
  96. Sugden, A., Smith, J., & Pennisi, E. (2008). The future of forests. Science, 320(5882), 1435–1460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Tompkins, E., & Eakin, H. (2012). Managing private and public adaptation to climate change. Global Environmental Change Part A: Human & Policy Dimensions, 22(1), 3–11.Google Scholar
  98. Tucker, C. M. (2010). Learning on governance in forest ecosystems: Lessons from recent research. International Journal of the Commons, 4(2), 687–706.Google Scholar
  99. U.S. Census Bureau. (2011). GCT-P1. Urban/rural and metropolitan/nonmetropolitan population: 2000. Data set: Census 2000 summary file 1 (SF 1). . Accessed 3 Oct 2011.
  100. USFS (USDA Forest Service). (2008). Forest legacy program. Accessed 19 Sept 2011.
  101. USFS (USDA Forest Service). (2011). Northeastern area, forest health protection—Emerald ash borer. Accessed 2 Oct 2011.
  102. Vokoun, M., Amacher, G. S., Sullivan, J., & Wear, D. (2010). Examining incentives for adjacent non-industrial private forest landowners to cooperate. Forest Policy and Economics, 12(2), 104–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Warriner, G. K., & Moul, T. M. (1992). Kinship and personal communication network influences on the adoption of agriculture conservation technology. Journal of Rural Studies, 8(3), 279–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. Weimer, D., & Vining, A. (2010). Policy analysis: Concepts and practice (5th ed.). New York: Pearson Longman.Google Scholar
  105. Wondolleck, J. M., & Yaffee, S. L. (2000). Making collaboration work: Lessons from innovation in natural resource management. Washington, DC: Island Press.Google Scholar
  106. York, A. M., Janssen, M. A., & Ostrom, E. (2005). Incentives affecting land use decisions of nonindustrial private forest landowners. In P. Dauvergne (Ed.), Handbook of global environmental politics (pp. 233–248). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Government & Justice StudiesAppalachian State UniversityBooneUSA
  2. 2.School of Public and Environmental AffairsIndiana University–BloomingtonBloomingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations