Examining incentives for adjacent non-industrial private forest landowners to cooperate
Individual landowners may capture non-timber benefits from both their own forested parcels and adjacent parcels owned by different landowners. These benefits may affect incentives for landowners to cooperate in their forest management decisions. Landowner survey data is used to examine incentives to cooperate concerning joint forest management and coordination of harvesting. We find spatial factors to be particularly important to these incentives. The percentage of neighboring land employed in agriculture or crop uses and the number of bordering landowners are important positive predictors of willingness to cooperate concerning joint forest management, while the latter has a negative effect on willingness to coordinate timing of harvest. We also find that the non-timber values an individual receives from adjacent land are important positive predictors of cooperation incentives in general. Our results confirm, first, that cross parcel externalities modeled in theoretical work do in fact exist, and, second, that there is merit to formulating future policies with the incentives of landowners to participate in cooperative agreements with neighbors in mind. Such information could be important to addressing landscape level threats to forest health and sustainability.