Private land management and voluntary incentive programs project

Audrey L. Mayer, Michigan Technological University
Mark Rouleau, Michigan Technological University
Richelle Winkler, Michigan Technological University

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This project investigates the role that social influence plays in the land management of small private forests in the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and the collective impact on the UP landscape of thousands of land management decisions by non-industrial private forest owners.

We are gathering data through stakeholder interviews, GIS and remote sensing analyses, and agent-based modeling (our "ForestSim" model). The model integrates the data from our interviews, large scale efforts such as the National Woodland Owner Survey, and the US Census Bureau to populate the model with realistically-behaving landowner agents who make land management decisions such as harvesting. We verify that our model simulation results are feasible with remote sensing analysis to measure land use change that has occurred in the past.

Ultimately, we would like to provide a land use planning tool that an help identify programs that would ensure that our natural resources will support our communities and economies in the long term.