Minority Family Forest Owners in the United States
Family forest owners own more forestland in the United States than any other group. There have been no national studies of racial and ethnic minority family forest owners in the United States, in spite of increasing attention to diversity in forestry. Using the US Forest Service's National Woodland Owner Survey data, we sought to better understand minority owners by looking at their characteristics, attitudes, and behaviors. Of the over 4 million family forest ownerships with 10+ ac in the United States, minorities comprise 6.6 percent of the ownerships and own 5.1 percent of the 265 million ac. Although many similarities exist between minority and nonminority owners, such as reasons for owning land and concerns, minority landowners tend to be more regionally located, have smaller forest holdings, are less likely to manage their forests, and are less likely to have participated in assistance programs. Broad insight into the attitudes and behaviors of minority family forest owners can help policymakers, program directors, and outreach coordinators begin to understand the needs of minority landowners, providing this historically underserved group with tools they need to attain their forest management and land-use goals. By increasing minority landowner engagement, we can hopefully slow the loss of land by minority landowners.