US family forest management coupling natural and human systems: Role of markets and public policy instruments

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College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


We offer a conceptual framework where management couples natural and human systems backed by a representative synthesis of the literature studying US family forest owners. Within a socio-ecological forest system, management occurs at the intersection of resources and conditions intrinsic to owners and land with interactions influenced by extrinsic social and natural factors. Among extrinsic factors, public policy stands out as a major instrument society uses to influence how family forest owners manage their parcels. We discuss how public policy tools influence individual management preferences occurring within a system of forest owners. In the US, forestry extension programs are a major conduit for achieving public policy objectives by increasing family forest owners’ knowledge and reducing barriers to purposeful management, among other services. We conclude with insights into documented relationships linking family forestlands and owners to larger natural and human systems and identify areas where more research is warranted.

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© 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Publisher’s version of record:

Publication Title

Landscape and Urban Planning