ENRGP Exit Seminar: Factors Influencing Ohio Tree Farmers’ Forest Management and Outreach Needs

Apr 1, 2013, 2:00pm - 3:00pm

An ENR Graduate Exit Seminar will be held Monday, Apr. 1, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. in 385 Kottman Hall. Sarah Starr will present Factors Influencing Ohio Tree Farmers’ Forest Management and Outreach Needs.

Seventy-three percent of Ohio forest land is owned by non-industrial private forest owners (NIPFs). Consequently, these owners play a large role in what products are offered in the market place as well as environmental quality and ecosystem services. Ohio certified tree farmers, a subpopulation of NIPFs, actively and sustainably manage their land, often practicing multiple uses. These stewards can provide valuable information concerning sustainable forest management strategies. The goals of this study were to describe 1) the demographics of Ohio tree farmers 2) the framework behind their decision-making, i.e. the motivations, objectives, and constraints of forest management, 3) their educational outreach interests 4) how our results differ from a similar 1989 study and 5) to differentiate like groups of Ohio tree farmers through cluster analysis. Tree farmers were surveyed via a mail questionnaire following a modified Dillman approach. Ohio tree farmers valued non-consumptive forest qualities over consumptive uses. They were most interested in wildlife diversity enhancement and least interested in non-timber forest product production. Forest disease and insect problems/control and estate planning were of significantly greater interest when compared to those surveyed in the 1989 study. Aside from age, which overall was the most inhibiting factor, tree farmers were significantly less constrained than those surveyed in 1989. Ohio tree farmers segmented into six clusters: Preservationists, Environmental Stewards, Timber Producers, Forest Managers, Multiple Use Seekers, and Financially Challenged Landowners. Multiple Use Seekers were the most interested in forestry outreach, while the other clusters were interested in topics specific to their framework’s goals. These results will assist Ohio State Extension Specialists in their NIPF programming efforts regarding sustainable resource management and environmentally responsible land practices.