Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Forestry (MS)

Administrative Home Department

School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science

Advisor 1

Matthew C. Kelly

Committee Member 1

Audrey L. Mayer

Committee Member 2

Mark D. Rouleau

Abstract

In the northern hardwood forests of the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan, single-tree selection is the most commonly used silvicultural system. This system provides both a sustained yield of timber and attempts to emulate the windfall disturbance regime that determines the uneven aged structure of northern hardwood forests. However, with concerns about tree species diversity loss and a lack of early successional forests, even-aged regeneration methods are likely to become an increasingly crucial tool in the toolbox for managing northern hardwood forests of the Lake States. The forests of the Western Upper Peninsula are comprised of a mosaic of ownerships, with nearly 40% of the forested land owned by family forest owners. This study assessed family forest owners experience with, perceptions of, and interest in three different silvicultural methods recently implemented as a part of a long-term silviculture study on Michigan Technological University’s Ford Forest. A mailed survey with images and descriptions of clearcut, shelterwood, and single tree selection harvests was sent to family forest owners with at least 20 acres of forestland in the Western Upper Peninsula. The survey also included questions about landowners' use of their forestland, management experience, incentive-program enrollment, and demographics. The findings indicated that family forest owners who rank timber as important reason for owning forestland are the most likely to be accepting of all three methods. Respondents who use their land for hunting are also very likely to implement clearcut and shelterwood methods. Other findings include different preferences for management between absentee and non-absentee landowners. The results of this study suggest that targeting hunting groups and actively managing landowners may have a positive effect on the understanding and acceptance of silviculture among family forest owners.

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