Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Garland R. Wells

Committee Members

David M. Ostermeier, Ronald W. Todd


The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between the federal estate tax and private forest management. An a priori hypothesis, called the "pressure" theory, linked estate tax liabilities in the late 1960's and early 1970's to decreased forest productivity in the nonindustrial private forestry sector. The scope of the study was limited to the following three objectives: 1. Presentation of an historical overview tracing the development of the "pressure" theory. The overview included an assessment of the circumstances which brought about the emergence of the theory, results of past studies designed to test the theory, and views on the need for further study. 2. An analysis of large ownerships in Tennessee to find out if changes and data trends supported the "pressure" theory. 3. Demonstration of how major estate tax legislation, the 1976 Tax Reform Act and the 1981 Economic Recovery Tax Act, has removed pressures on forest estates presumed subject to an estate tax. The study concluded that a forest estate tax problem may have existed prior to 1976, although the severity of the problem remains much in question. Major estate tax reforms averted the problem, and it should remain in check until inflation erodes the new credits and exemptions.

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