A comparison of participants and non-participants of state forest property tax programs in the United States
Information collected by the National Woodland Owner Survey, supplemented with state forest property tax program, land use, and socio-economic data, was used to develop a national characterization of participants enrolled in state forest property tax programs and their forest land. Family forest owners who owned a single parcel of forest land, were at least slightly familiar with their state's property tax program, and whose forest land qualified to participate in their state's program were included in the analysis. Landowner and parcel characteristics were organized into eight categories hypothesized to distinguish participants and non-participants. The analysis found that enrolled lands are larger, more likely found in predominantly forested landscapes, more actively managed, and less likely used for hunting than non-enrolled forest land. While enrollment in a state forest property tax program is positively associated with higher population density, no correlation was found between enrollment tendency and land development pressure, as defined in this analysis. The owners of enrolled forest lands generally report higher household incomes than their non-enrolled counterparts. However, owners whose forest land is enrolled in a forest property tax program do not express greater concern about the level of property tax levied on their forest land, and are no less likely to divest their land than non-enrollees. The information generated from this study may help state forest property tax program administrators and public policy makers improve the ability of these programs to achieve their intended objectives, such as incentivizing the production of timber, other ecosystem goods and services, and forest land protection, through more effective marketing and targeting efforts.