Effects of Southern Timber Demand on Forest Characteristics

Jeffrey P. Prestemon (Presenter), Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service

John M. Pye, Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service

Karen L. Abt, Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service

David T. Butry, Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service

David N. Wear, Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service

The von Thunen model of land use allocation makes optimal land use a function of the size of demand and a location's distance from demand centers. Management of forestlands should therefore be related to returns available to forestry and hence the level of activity in the forestry enterprise and its spatial distribution. In a test of the von Thunen model, we used Southwide plot and mill data from USDA Forest Service's Forest Inventory and Analysis survey to examine the relationship between mill proximity and two measures of intensity of forest management: stand age, and whether or not the stand is a pine plantation. Distances to five kinds of mills were separately tested: sawmills, pulp mills, plywood/veneer mills, satellite wood chip mills, and post/pole/piling mills. Analyses included a number of control variables: ecoregion, state, physiographic class, stand slope, and in the stand age model, broad forest type. Stand age was analyzed as an ordinary least squares model, plantation status was analyzed as a binary probit model. Results will show how proximity to various types of mills is associated with differences in stand age and also the probability that a forest is a plantation. While cross-sectional analyses such as these cannot determine causality, coupled with longitudinal evidence they shed light on the effects of timber demand on the forest resource in the South and how those effects vary across the landscape.

Workshop III: Forest Uses

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