Date of Award

5-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Natural Resources

Major Professor

Neelam C. Poudyal

Committee Members

Donald G. Hodges, Timothy M. Young, Wenjun Zhou

Abstract

Forest ecosystems provide a wide range of timber and non-timber ecosystem services that play a vital role in supporting human health, well-being, and economy. Sustaining forest ecosystem will depend on landowners’ interest and willingness to responsibly manage forests, and provide timber and non-timber services for public benefit. Despite a substantial research in understanding how forest resources are managed by landowners, several literature gaps still exist regarding how landowners’ behavior/activities associated with sustaining the supply of ecosystem services and timber, and participating in best management practices such as forest certification. By applying methods grounded in economic and human dimension theory, this dissertation finds empirical evidences to answer key questions relevant in landowners’ perspectives in supply of timber and non-timber benefits and adoption of certification practices.

The first essay investigates the interest of nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) landowners in managing their forests for provision of ecosystem services (carbon storage, water quality protection, and aesthetics) and summarizes the corresponding influencing factors by using the survey data collected from the Cumberland Plateau, Tennessee. The second essay analyzes the landowners’ perceived barriers and opportunities in adopting forest certification in China. Using a meta-analysis method, the third essay highlights how price responsiveness of timber supply responds to market price, and other factors representing landowners’ characteristics.

The essays in this dissertation provide some insights in understanding the decision-making behavior of landowners relative to providing both timber and non-timber services and sustaining forest management. Findings add significantly to the forest economic and management literature. In addition, conceptual frameworks and estimation techniques adopted in some of these essays could be extended or improved upon in future studies.

Comments

Chapter II was previously published in the journal Forests and the Chapter IV was in-press for publication by the Forest Products Journal and the full citations are both included in my dissertation.

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