Gregory E. FreyResearch Forester
3041 E. Cornwallis Rd.
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2254
Dr. Frey conducts research with the goal of empowering land users to improve their own lives in a way that also provides benefits to society.
His main current research areas include forest taxation, non-timber forest products, and common property.
Taxes drive people crazy. Private forest landowners say that taxes that are either too high or poorly designed force them to make decisions that are not the best for the land or for society. Since forests in the US East are about two-thirds privately owned, this has consequences for all of us. Dr. Frey is leading research into how tax policies engage and affect landowners, and how they change the way they manage forests such as when to harvest timber, sell land, or invest in improvements.
Non-timber forest products
People use forests for all kinds of things. Of course, trees are used for lumber, paper, and firewood, and forests provide clean air and water. But there are other important forest products that come from the fruits, roots, bark, stems, and leaves of various forest plants. You may have used some of those products yourself as food, art supplies, or remedies. They are often overlooked in forest management and economic analysis, but many people do rely on them to make ends meet. Dr. Frey is leading a group to synthesize past research and conduct new research into harvesting, markets, and regulations for these products, so we can improve forest management and people’s lives.
When a property owner dies without a will, the land becomes common property among heirs. Since decisions have to be unanimous, the land becomes difficult to manage or improve, and often ends up being sold to developers. However, communal ownership occurs in many other countries, and they have strong community institutions that make and implement decisions. Dr. Frey is interested in whether international community-owned forests are successful and profitable, and if so, how. Can we apply those lessons to property owned jointly by children or grandchildren of deceased forest landowners in the US?
Research InterestsDr. Frey's current role is to explore forest policy, regulation, and taxes, including:
- Effects of federal, state, and local income and property tax provisions and programs
- Community-based forest management
- Policies and programs affecting limited-resource and underserved forest landowners
- Markets, values, and policies for agroforestry systems & non-timber forest products
- Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) and climate change policy
- United States and Latin America
Dr. Frey's past research has been related to the economic and social benefits of various forest management systems and policies. He has particularly investigated systems and policies that have potential to benefit small and limited-resource forest users, and those that provide ecosystem services to society. He has lived, worked, and conducted forest economics and policy research in both the US South and Latin America.
One line of Dr. Frey's research has been related to the economic returns, risks, and perceptions of agroforestry systems, when compared to conventional forestry and agricultural systems. He has been involved in research teams related to non-timber forest products, forest farming, silvopasture, and alley cropping.
Dr. Frey has been involved in research on timber investment returns worldwide along with the effects of policies and programs such as loans, subsidies, and payments for services such as carbon sequestration, as well as certification of sustainable forest management. He has also been involved in the policy development process in various Latin American countries to reduce deforestation as a strategy to conserve forest carbon and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Why This Research is Important
Dr. Frey conducts research with the goal of empowering land users to improve their own lives in a way that also provides benefits to society.
Forest cover, when well-managed and well-located throughout a landscape can provide numerous benefits for individuals, communities, our nation, and the world. Numerous interventions have been attempted by organizations worldwide, to varying degrees of success, to increase overall forest cover and better manage existing forests, in order to maximize benefits to society. In every case, these policies and programs are an attempt to change the behavior of people, particularly local resource users. The success of a policy or program depends on market and non-market values of resource users under the legal framework for tenure of forest resources in a particular country or administrative region.
- Ph.D. in Forestry, 2009
- NC State University
- B.S. in Chemistry, 2000
- Wake Forest University
- Research Forester, USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station
Economics research on forest policy, regulation, and taxes.
- Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Virginia State University / Virginia Cooperative Extension
- Extended Term Consultant, World Bank, Latin American and Caribbean Region
Forest Carbon Specialist
- Research Assistant, Instructor, and Teaching Assistant, North Carolina State University
- Volunteer and Volunteer Coordinator, Peace Corps Paraguay
- Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals, Affiliate Member (2014 - Current); Member (2012 - 2014); National Treasurer (2013 - 2014) (2012—Current)
- International Society of Forest Resource Economics, Member (2009—Current)
- Society of American Foresters (SAF), Member (2009—Current)
- International Society of Tropical Foresters, Member; Chapter President (2008 - 2009) (2004—Current)
- Virginia Department of Forestry, Committee Member (2011—2014)
- Virginia Forestry Association, Member (2011—2014)
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Committee Member (2011—2014)
- USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Committee Member (2012—2013)
Awards and Recognition
- Extension Publications Award, 2017
- Gold Award, Southern Region Extension Forestry Awards for Excellence
- Forest Service International Programs, 2017
- Selected for Early-Career Social Scientist International Research Engagement Pilot Program
- Program Excellence Award, 2013
- District and State Winner, Virginia Cooperative Extension, New Initiatives Category.
- Team Award, 2011
- World Bank Latin America and Caribbean Vice Presidential Unit
Featured Publications and Products
- Frey, Gregory E.; Meier, Justin T.; Kilgore, Michael A.; Snyder, Stephanie A.; Blinn, Charles R. 2019. Factors associated with family forest landowner enrollment in state preferential forest property tax programs in the United States.
- Frey, Gregory ; Alexander, Susan ; Chamberlain, James ; Blatner, Keith ; Coffin, Alisa ; Barlow, Rebecca J. 2019. Markets and market values of nontimber forest products in the United States: A review, synthesis, and identification of future research needs.
- Kilgore, Michael ; Ellefson, Paul ; Funk, Travis ; Frey, Gregory E. 2018. State property tax programs promoting sustainable forests in the United States: A review of program structure and administration.
- Frey, Gregory E.; Chamberlain, James L.; Prestemon, Jeffrey P. 2018. The potential for a backward-bending supply curve of non-timber forest products: An empirical case study of wild American ginseng production.
- Mercer, D. Evan; Frey, Gregory E. ; Cubbage, Frederick W. . 2014. Economics of Agroforestry.
- Frey, Gregory E.; Charnley, Susan ; Makala, Jasper . 2021. Economic viability of community-based forest management for certified timber production in southeastern Tanzania.
- Cary, Michael A.; Frey, Gregory E. 2020. Alley cropping as an alternative under changing climate and risk scenarios: A Monte-Carlo simulation approach.
- Li, Yanshu ; Frey, Gregory E.; Wang, Linda . 2020. Estimated effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 on private noncorporate forest landowners' timber income in the U.S. South.
- Frey, Gregory E.; Chamberlain, James L.; Schmidt, John Paul. 2020. Estimating the value of forests for provisioning non-timber forest products to market: concepts, approaches, and case studies.
- James, Natasha A.; Abt, Karen L.; Frey, Gregory E.; Han, Xue ; Prestemon, Jeffrey P. 2020. Fire in the Southern Appalachians: understanding impacts, interventions, and future fire events.
- Cubbage, Frederick ; Kanieski, Bruno ; Rubilar, Rafael ; Bussoni, Adriana ; Morales Olmos, Virginia; Balmelli, Gustavo ; Mac Donagh, Patricio; Lord, Roger ; Hernández, Carmelo ; Zhang, Pu ; Huang, Jin ; Korhonen, Jaana ; Yao, Richard ; Hall, Peter ; Del La Torre, Rafael ; Diaz-Balteiro, Luis ; Carrero, Omar ; Monges, Elizabeth ; Ha, Tran Thi Thu; Frey, Gregory ; Howard, Mike ; Chavet, Michael ; Mochan, Shaun ; Hoeflich, Vitor Afonso; Chudy, Rafal ; Maass, David ; Chizmar, Stephanie ; Abt, Robert . 2020. Global timber investments, 2005 to 2017.
- Frey, Gregory E.; Durmus, Tarik ; Sills, Erin O.; Isik, Fikret ; Comer, Marcus M. 2020. Potential alternative tree species as substrates for forest farming of log-grown shiitake mushrooms in the southeastern United States.
- Han, Xue ; Frey, Gregory ; Sun, Changyou . 2020. Regulation and practice of forest-management fires on private lands in the southeast United States: Legal open burns versus certified prescribed burns.
- Frey, Gregory E.; Cary, Michael A. 2020. Under what management and policy scenarios can alley cropping be a competitive alternative in the United States Southeast?.
- Meier, Justin T.; Kilgore, Michael A.; Frey, Gregory E.; Snyder, Stephanie A.; Blinn, Charles R. 2019. A comparison of participants and non-participants of state forest property tax programs in the United States.
- Frey, Gregory E.; Cubbage, Frederick W.; Holmes, Thomas P.; Reyes-Retana, Graciela ; Davis, Robert R.; Megevand, Carole ; Rodríguez-Paredes, Diana ; Kraus-Elsin, Yoanna ; Hernández-Toro, Berenice ; Chemor-Salas, Diana Nacibe. 2019. Competitiveness, certification, and support of timber harvest by community forest enterprises in Mexico.
- Frey, Gregory E.; Cary, Michael A.; Goodwin, Barry K.; Mercer, D. Evan. 2018. Agroforestry Land-use Economic Yield and Risk (ALLEY) Model 2.0: a computer suite to simulate and compare stochastic yield and returns of alley crop, monocrop, and pine plantation systems in the U.S. South.
- Frey, Gregory E.; Comer, Marcus M. 2018. Annotated bibliography on the impacts of size and scale of silvopasture in the Southeastern U.S.A.
- Frey, Gregory E.; Blatner, Keith A.; Jacobson, Michael G.; Starbuck Downes, C. Meghan; Sills, Erin O.; Mercer, D. Evan; Alexander, Susan J.; Chamberlain, James L.; Gold, Michael A.; Godsey, Larry D.; Emery, Marla R.; Coffin, Alisa W.; Barlow, Rebecca J.; Lohr, Luanne . 2018. Economics of nontimber forest products.
- Frey, Gregory E. ; Cubbage, Frederick W. ; Ha, Tran Thi Thu ; Davis, Robert R. ; Carle, James B. ; Thon, Vu X. ; Dzung, Nguyen V. . 2018. Financial analysis and comparison of smallholder forest and state forest enterprise plantations in Central Vietnam.
- Kilgore, Michael A.; Ellefson, Paul V; Funk, Travis J.; Frey, Gregory E. 2018. Private forest owners and property tax incentive programs in the United States: A national review and analysis of ecosystem services promoted, landowner participation, forestland area enrolled, and magnitude of tax benefits provided.
- Han, Xue; Frey, Gregory E.; Geng, Yude; Cubbage, Frederick W.; Zhang, Zhaohui. 2018. Reform and efficiency of state-owned forest enterprises in Northeast China as “social firms”.
- Frey, Gregory E.; Fike, John H. 2018. Silvopasture case studies in North Carolina and Virginia.
- Fike, John; Downing, Adam; Munsell, John; Frey, Gregory E.; Mercier, Kelly; Pent, Gabriel; Teutsch, Chris; Daniel, J.B.; Fisher, Jason; Adams, Miller; Groh, Todd. 2017. Creating silvopastures: some considerations when planting trees in pastures.
- Chamberlain, James L.; Frey, Gregory E.; Ingram, C. Denise; Jacobson, Michael G.; Starbuck Downes, Cara Meghan. 2017. Forest ecosystem services: Provisioning of non-timber forest products.
- Kilgore, Michael A.; Ellefson, Paul B.; Funk, Travis J.; Frey, Gregory E. 2017. State property tax incentives for promoting ecosystem goods and services from private forest land in the United States: a review and analysis.
- Frey, Gregory E.; Fike, John H.; Downing, Adam K.; Comer, Marcus M.; Mize, Timothy A.; Teutsch, Christopher D. 2017. Trees and livestock together: silvopasture research and application for Virginia farms.
- Frey, Gregory E.; Chamberlain, James. 2016. Collection of nontimber forest products from state forests in the US south.
- Frey, Gregory E.; Nepal, Prakash. 2016. Forest economics and policy in a changing environment: how market, policy, and climate transformations affect forests -- Proceedings of the 2016 Meeting of the International Society of Forest Resource Economics.
- Cubbage, Frederick W.; Davis, Robert R.; Rodriguez Paredes, Diana; Mollenhauer, Ramon; Kraus Elsin, Yoanna; Frey, Gregory E.; Gonzalez Hernandez, Ignacio A.; Albarran Hurtado, Humberto; Cruz, Anita Mercedes Salazar; Salas, Diana Nacibe Chemor. 2015. Community forestry enterprises in Mexico: sustainability and competitiveness.
- Cary, Michael A.; Frey, Gregory E.; Mercer, D. Evan. 2014. The value of versatile alley cropping in the Southeast US: A Monte Carlo simulation.
- Frey, Gregory E.; Mercer, D. Evan; Cubbage, Frederick W.; Abt, Robert C. 2013. A real options model to assess the role of flexibility in forestry and agroforestry adoption and disadoption in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley.
- Frey, Gregory E.; Mercer, D. Evan; Cubbage, Frederick W.; Abt, Robert C. 2011. Economic potential of agroforestry and forestry in the lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley with incentive programs and carbon payments.
- Frey, Gregory E.; Mercer, D. Evan; Cubbage, Frederick W.; Abt, Robert C. 2010. A Real Options Method for Estimating the Adoption Potential of Forestry and Agroforestry Systems on Private Lands in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley, USA.
- Cubbage, F.; Koesbandana, S.; Mac Donagh, P; Rubilar, R.; Balmelli, G; Morales Olmos, V.; De La Torre, R.; Murara, M.; Hoeflich, V.A.; Kotze, H.; Gonzalez, R; Carrero, O.; Frey, G.; Adams, T.; Turner, J.; Lord, R.; Huang, J.; MacIntyre, C.; McGinley, Kathleen; Abt, R.; Phillips, R. 2010. Global timber investments, wood costs, regulation, and risk.
- Fire in the Southern Appalachians: Understanding Impacts, Interventions, and Future Fire Events (2020)
- Of all the documented fires in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, between 1992 to 2017, the Chimney Tops 2 fire accounts for more than half of the total area burned. The Chimney Tops 2 fire was unlike any other in recent decades in the Southern Appalachians. A team of SRS researchers examined wildfire and controlled burns in the Southern Appalachians over this period and explored potential future changes in both.
- Half of States in the Southern U.S. Allow Harvest of Non-timber Forest Products in State Forests; can also Document Illegal Harvesting (2016)
- Little is known about of the harvest of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in state forests of the southern U.S. Forest Service scientists documented the most commonly harvested NTFPs on state forests and found that of the 12 southern states that have state forests, seven allow some harvest of NTFPs and have policies and practices in place to regulate harvest activities. Of those seven, six have evidence of illegal harvesting.
- Keys to Landowner Enrollment in State Property Tax Programs: Program Requirements and Forestland Characteristics (2020)
- All 50 States offer programs that lower property taxes for enrolled forestlands, but participation in these programs vary. USDA Forest Service research found that program eligibility rules, restrictions on enrolled land, and penalties for withdrawal affect enrollment. Larger land parcels are more likely to be enrolled. Surprisingly, landowner goals and concerns were not usually linked to enrollment in state property tax programs.
- State programs to reduce forestland property taxes vary in requirements and implementation. (2018)
- All states in the U.S. have programs that lower property taxes for qualified forest land, which is justified by the economic benefits and non-market amenities that forests provide. Researchers at the University of Minnesota and the Southern Research Station dug into the tax laws in all 50 states to understand their requirements for enrollment and methods of implementation. They found wide variation in what states require from landowners in order to enroll land parcels, penalties for withdrawal, and the agencies that implement the programs.
- Wild American Ginseng Shows Indications of Economic Overharvest (2019)
- Overharvest can occur in open access marine fisheries, leading to lower total economic profits. Could the same occur with medicinal forest products? A team of USDA Forest Service botanists and economists collaborated on a study that suggests American ginseng is subject to a backward bending supply curve.