Exploring family forest landowner diversity: Place, race, and gender in Alabama, United States
Family forestry is characterized by heterogeneity in ownership structure, owners’ objectives, and management practices. Differences among forest landowners by age and occupation have been regularly documented, but other social dimensions, such as race and gender, have received considerably less attention. We conducted exploratory research on racial and gender differences among forest landowners in two Alabama counties via a mail survey in order to identify promising areas for future research and forestry outreach. We found that gender and race influence land holding practices, management objectives, access to information and technical support. African American and female forest landowners tend to be less involved in forest management but would like more information. Understanding how forest landowners from different social backgrounds use, value, and manage forest is crucial for developing appropriate programs to encourage landowners from all segments of society to manage their forests for private and public benefits, and further research is warranted.