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Title: Enduring Racial Differences in Forestland Ownership and Management: Macon County, Alabama Authors: John Schelhas, Esperance Namugabo, Robert Zabawa Affiliation: USDA Forest Service and Tuskegee University Abstract: Private forests comprise about 90% of the forest land in the U.S. South. Private forests and their management are important for economic development, timber supplies, forest health, watershed benefits, biodiversity, and global climate change. In spite of the long history of research on and outreach programs for private forest landowners, attention has only recently been directed at minority and limited resource forest landowners. What work has been done suggests that these landowners often have distinct characteristics, values, and ownership objectives that in turn have implications for forest policy, outreach, and assistance programs. Here we report the results of a recent survey of forest landowners in Macon County, Alabama. The results indicate that black forest landowners, when contrasted to white owners, have less land and engage in fewer forest management activities. Black landowners have low levels of engagement with and trust in forestry institutions and rely heavily of family members for assistance. Yet black landowners highly value their land and have a great desire for forest management information. We end by discussing some innovative ways to reach minority forest land owners through community-based approaches.
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