Understanding Private Forest Owner Participation In Future Carbon Offset Programs In The Catskills Region: A Contingent Valuation Approach

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Forest carbon sequestration and storage is increasingly being considered as an attractive climate change mitigation strategy across the Northeast, the United States and the world. Recent research indicates that a significant percentage of U.S. reductions in carbon emissions could be achieved through improved forest management at costs competitive to other mitigation strategies and technologies. Given that the majority of forestland throughout the country is owned by many diverse private forest landowners, the success or failure of forest carbon management programs may depend on the willingness of these landowners to participate in voluntary carbon offset programs. The goal of this thesis is to provide a better understanding of future landowner participation in forest management programs specifically targeting carbon benefits. Using a mail survey of 1,200 landowners in the Catskills region of New York State, a landowner's willingness to accept incentive payments in return for improved forest management is determined using a contingent valuation approach. The landowner's utility-maximizing participation decision is estimated using a logit econometric model. Results of this study indicate that there is a strong interest among a broad spectrum of landowners for forest management, especially among those concerned with climate change issues. Participation rates ranged from 30 percent at relatively low incentive payment offers to 85 percent at high incentive payment offers. The median incentive payment necessary to induce participation is between $14 and $19 per acre, per year. The participation decision is influenced by the amount of incentive payment offered, property size, different ownership objectives, attitudes towards climate change issues and political orientation. These results indicate that forest management could be an efficient and effective climate change mitigation policy in the Catskills region of New York State, and possibly beyond.

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Nonindustrial Private Forest Landowner; Contingent Valuation Survey New York; Carbon Sequestration Climate Change


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Lee, David R

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Poe, Gregory Lee
Stedman, Richard Clark

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Agricultural Economics

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M.S., Agricultural Economics

Degree Level

Master of Science

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dissertation or thesis

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