Title

AN ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF TIMBER SUPPLY FROM NONINDUSTRIAL PRIVATE FORESTS IN CONNECTICUT

Date of Completion

January 1986

Keywords

Economics, Agricultural

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

The timber harvesting and investment behavior of nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) owners is critical to the national timber budget. Nearly sixty percent of the commercial timber land in the United States is held by NIPF owners, yet these lands supply less than one-half of the annual timber harvest. In order to increase the productivity of these lands, forest policy makers have instituted technical information, cost sharing, and fiscal policy programs to modify the timber supply behavior of this class of owners. However, the responses of NIPF owners to incentives to practice good forestry are not well understood and a comprehensive behavioral model has not been developed.^ The overall purpose of this study was to develop an economic understanding of the factors which affect the supply of timber by NIPF owners. The theoretical construct was based on a microeconomic model of forest production and the hypotheses derived from the model were tested using observations on forest landowners in northeastern Connecticut.^ A major conclusion of the study is that NIPF owners behave in an economically rational manner. The results of the study are consistent with the maintained hypothesis that NIPF owners act as if they maximize utility subject to their budget constraint. Woodland size, forestry assistance, and stumpage price were found to have a positive influence on the propensity to harvest timber while household income and subjective valuation of aesthetic benefits were found to have a negative effect.^ Although financial incentive programs were found to have little effect on timber supply and productivity in the study area, significant improvements in forest productivity were found on woodlots held by members of a forest landowners association. The results of this study indicate that the supply of technical and educational forestry information can increase overall forest productivity at a relatively low price where the demand for forest information is high. Such a demand for information is likely to occur where timber markets are active and the economic opportunities for forest investments are good. ^