Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural Economics

Major Professor

Christopher D. Clark

Committee Members

William M. Park, Emmit L. Rawls


In order to keep up with a growing human population, wildlife habitat has had to be relinquished. Modern technology has furthered the abilities of commodity producers but caused a deterioration of the quality and quantity of habitat available for wild animals in many cases. Many species of wildlife have left areas of the state in order to meet their basic needs. In order to increase wildlife numbers, wildlife habitat will have to be reintroduced or managed differently. The first objective of this research is to identify and evaluate the factors associated with a demand for increased wildlife habitat among Tennessee farmers. The provision of habitat can not only benefit wildlife, but the public and private sectors as well.

An analysis was preformed in order to identify a more specific interested individual. These individuals can then be more exclusively targeted by administrators of governmental programs with information that will assist in targeting their programs to farmers in Tennessee. These programs offer a wide range of assistance for landowners who are interested in helping the environment.

The analysis revealed that individuals who are interested in providing more habitat on their land are younger, more educated, issue hunting leases, were members of environmentally related organizations, and attended agriculture events. Over half of the interested individuals also reported some amount of erosion on their land.

Another topic of this research contemplates the growth of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) for energy production. Switchgrass possesses numerous benefits for both landowners and wildlife. The second goal of this study was to analyze the economics of switchgrass production in order to assist landowners in considering growing this crop.

Switchgrass is an excellent source of biomass, which currently supplies over 3 percent of the total United States energy consumption. Switchgrass also comprises a very extensive root system, which provides a large area of storage for carbon that is removed by the plant from the atmosphere. Due to its broad root system, this warm-season grass also is proving to be a wonderful plant to be used for erosion control.

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