Small-scale Forestry

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 419–434 | Cite as

Typology of Nonindustrial Private Forest Landowners and Forestry Behavior: Implications for Forest Carbon Sequestration in the Southern US

  • Puskar N. Khanal
  • Donald L. GrebnerEmail author
  • Ian A. Munn
  • Stephen C. Grado
  • Robert K. Grala
  • James E. Henderson
Research Paper


To implement effective climate change mitigation and carbon sequestration activities in the southern US, nonindustrial private forest landowner (NIPF) participation is necessary because of the significant area of forest land under their ownership. For policy implementation to involve this major ownership group in climate change mitigation activities in this region, it is important to understand their forest management motivations and understanding toward carbon sequestration. This study develops a regional typology of NIPF landowners based on reasons for owning forest land in the southern US. The specific goals were to: (1) segment NIPF landowners into smaller homogeneous groups based on reasons for owning forest land; (2) identify landownership characteristics and forest management behavior by ownership groups; and (3) assess their climate change beliefs and understanding of forest carbon sequestration by ownership groups. A principal component-cluster analysis of 735 responses to a mail questionnaire distributed to NIPF landowners in the southern US revealed three groups, which were named amenity, multi-objective, and timber-oriented landowners. The amenity group included 21% of the landowners, while the timber and multi-objective groups included 40% and 39% of the landowners, respectively. These landowner groups varied in terms of owner characteristics, forest species type and management behavior, climate change beliefs and understanding of carbon sequestration. The amenity and multi-objective owners tend to have more positive belief toward climate change than the timber group, but more landowners in each group indicated having poor understanding of forest carbon sequestration. The study fills a knowledge gap in research efforts by developing a regional typology of NIPF landowners and linking it with their forestry resources and management strategies along with their climate change beliefs and understanding of forest carbon sequestration.


Forest management Cluster analysis Understanding Climate change Principal component analysis 



Funding was provided by PINEMAP, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (Grant No. #2011-68002-30185).


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Copyright information

© Steve Harrison, John Herbohn 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Puskar N. Khanal
    • 1
  • Donald L. Grebner
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ian A. Munn
    • 2
  • Stephen C. Grado
    • 2
  • Robert K. Grala
    • 2
  • James E. Henderson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Forestry and Environmental ConservationClemson UniversityClemsonUSA
  2. 2.Department of ForestryMississippi State UniversityMississippi StateUSA

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