Non-industrial private forest (NIPF) landowners control 58% of all forests in the U.S. Great Lakes States consisting of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. A regional assessment of the availability of woody biomass for bioenergy will therefore be incomprehensive without a consideration of supply from the most dominant ownership group. This study aimed to evaluate the social availability of woody biomass for renewable energy in the U.S. Great Lakes States by examining NIPF landowners’ willingness-to-harvest (WTH) their woodlands. Following the Tailored Design Method, surveys were mailed to 4,190 NIPF landowners from Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Results identified two latent factors summarizing landowners’ bioenergy perceptions: (a) bioenergy support and (b) environmental degradation and four latent factors behind woodland ownership: (a) amenity, (b) personal use, (c) production and (d) legacy. A two-step cluster analysis approach was used to construct a landowner typology for the region based on landowners’ bioenergy views and reasons for woodland ownership. Four types of landowners were consequently identified: recreationist, indifferent, preservationist and multiple-objective. Recreationists were found to own the majority or 51% of the total woodlands reported by sample respondents and were also most willing to harvest their woodlands with an estimated 38% potentially available for timber harvest and 46% for biomass harvest. A comparison of WTH by landowner type and state revealed that the greatest level of acceptance as indicated by potential acreage availability were from recreationists owning NIPFs in Michigan. Binary logit regression models were also used to determine significant factors influencing landowners’ WTH timber and woody biomass. Findings indicated that non-timber objectives decreased the odds of harvesting and timber and biomass prices increased those odds. However, marginal probability effects of prices on WTH highlighted the substantial impact that timber price, rather than biomass price had on landowners’ choice to harvest. These results suggested that the availability of woody biomass will be contingent upon timber prices.
|Advisor:||Aguilar, Francisco X.|
|Commitee:||Aguilar, Francisco X., Nilon, Charles, Shifley, Stephen R.|
|School:||University of Missouri - Columbia|
|School Location:||United States -- Missouri|
|Source:||MAI 58/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
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