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Landscape Ecology

, Volume 17, Issue 8, pp 685–697 | Cite as

Land ownership and landscape structure: a spatial analysis of sixty-six Oregon (USA) Coast Range watersheds

  • Brooks J. Stanfield
  • John C. Bliss
  • Thomas A. Spies
Article

Abstract

Patterns of land ownership and forest cover are related in complex and ecologically significant ways. Using a Geographic Information System and regression analysis, we tested for spatial relationships between the structure of land ownership and forest cover across 66 watersheds in the state of Oregon (USA), Coast Range mountains. We found that in these watersheds (1) forest cover diversity increased with land ownership diversity, (2) size of forest patches increased with size of land ownership patches, and (3) connectivity of forest cover increased with connectivity of land ownership. Land ownership structure explained between 29% and 40% of the variability of forest cover structure across these watersheds. Driving this relationship are unique associations among particular ownership classes and various forest cover classes. The USDA Forest Service and the USDI Bureau of Land Management were associated with mature forest cover; private industry was associated with young forest cover; nonindustrial private forest owners were associated with a wide diversity of cover classes. Watersheds with mixed ownership appear to provide greater forest cover diversity, whereas watersheds with concentrated ownership provide less diverse but more connected forest cover. Results suggest that land ownership patterns are strongly correlated with forest cover patterns. Therefore, understanding landscape structure requires consideration of land ownership institutions, dynamics, and patterns.

Forest habitat Land ownership concentration Land ownership Land tenure Landscape structure Oregon Coast Range Watershed 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brooks J. Stanfield
    • 1
  • John C. Bliss
    • 1
  • Thomas A. Spies
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Forest ResourcesOregon State University CorvallisOregonUSA
  2. 2.USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Forest Research Station CorvallisOregonUSA

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