Uses of Forestland and Motives for Conservation Among Landowners in North-Central Florida

Matthew Cooper

Abstract


Conservation efforts have been traditionally aimed at publicly owned land in places like state and national parks, state and national forests, and wildlife preserves. However, the majority of ecologically vital land in America is not in public hands; it is owned and managed by private landowners. In Alachua County and Levy County Florida, as much as 76% of forested land is privately owned. To ensure that these private forests remain for future generations, conservation programs, easements and tax incentives have all been implemented to encourage conservation. In order for these initiatives to be more successful in protecting vital areas, it is necessary to understand private landowners’ motivations for keeping their property forested. This survey looked at those private owners of forested land and why they choose to keep their land forested, rather than do something more profitable with the land like agriculture, hardwood logging, or raising cattle. It looked at what owners use their forested land for as well as their motivations for conserving it, both financial and personal. The data from the surveys was analyzed, especially from the perspective of correlating land use and feelings of conservation.

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