Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Exploring the relationship between social interactions and private forest management decisions in south-central Indiana
by Ruseva, Tatyana B., Ph.D., Indiana University, 2010, 259; 3439596
Abstract (Summary)

Managed by nearly 200,000 private owners, Indiana's private forest lands provide valuable ecological, economic and social benefits to society. What happens on these lands, as a result of the decisions and interactions of resource owners and resource professionals has implications for the sustainability of private forests. This study examines the decisions and social interactions of private landowners and public professional foresters (with each other, and with other public and private actors), and the manner in which these relationships affect private forest management in south-central Indiana. Three conceptually-related empirical chapters address the questions: (1) what affects landowners' intentions to reforest or afforest; (2) what type of social contacts characterize the personal networks of private forest owners; and, (3) what role do district foresters play in private forestry collaboration? To inform these questions, structured survey and semi-structured interview data are employed in: (1) an inferential statistical analysis of landowner survey responses, (2) mixed quantitative and qualitative analyses of landowner interviews and survey responses; and, (3) qualitative analysis of interviews with and survey responses of Indiana district foresters. The results of the analyses indicate that: (1) incentives, such as free seedlings can significantly influence landowners' intentions to plant trees; (2) the personal networks of landowners include four people on average, and a fifth of all social contacts are with timber buyers; and, that (3) district foresters invest more time in internal program management and collaborations with other natural resource professionals than in on-the-ground forest management with private landowners. Overall, the findings suggest little collaboration between private and public actors at the immediate level of private landowner parcels, and significantly greater collaborations between public professional foresters, and other public and private actors at the program and policy level in private forestry.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fischer, Burnell C.
Commitee: Evans, Tom, McGuire, Michael, Parks, Roger B.
School: Indiana University
Department: Public Affairs
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-B 72/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Forestry, Natural Resource Management, Public administration
Keywords: Collaboration, Environmental policy, Natural resource governance, Personal networks, Private forest management, Professional foresters
Publication Number: 3439596
ISBN: 9781124448060
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