Posted: July 2, 2021

One of the hallmarks of the Center for Private Forests’ work involves conducting applied research at the intersection of people and forests. This research guides the creation of resources to assist woodland owners, informs partners in their outreach efforts, and determines where to focus future efforts toward attaining a healthy and productive forested landscape.

In this quarter, Master’s student Abby Jamison successfully completed and defended her work to better understand the relationship between “novice” landowners and those who advise them. She learned that landowners value the creation of trusting, respectful, and reciprocal relationships with professionals—knowing they have someone to turn to and who can help increase their understanding to care well for their woods. This work raises important opportunities for engaging young and practicing foresters and to create profession-wide cohesive messaging and practice focused on long-term forest care and health.

At the beginning of June, we mailed the 2021 Pennsylvania Forest Landowner Survey to 6,600 landowners owning one or more acres of forests. This survey was last done in 2010 and we are eager to learn if and how behaviors, attitudes, and practices have changed over time, how landowners view their land and its management, and to determine the number of private forest landowners in the state (i.e., did the population change?). If you are one of the lucky(!), randomly chosen participants, please complete the survey and send it back. We value your contribution.

At the end of the spring semester, the Center also supported the research of Master’s student Alex Curtze, supervised by Dr. Laura Leites, Associate Research Professor of Quantitative Forest Ecology with the Penn State Department of Ecosystem Science & Management. His research created a model that differentiates forests high graded in the past from those that have had silviculturally-defined management—for example, the first-stage harvest under a shelterwood treatment to start establishing regeneration. Using this model, the Center wants to create a tool that will help landowners and professionals assess their recent forest treatment history (for example, helping a landowner understand the cutting history on their woodlands), which they can use to guide developing management prescriptions to move their forest to a healthier place.

The Center also undertook a survey of Pennsylvania’s land trusts and conservancies to understand how they approach forest management activities on lands under easement. While many of these organizations allow forest management, justifications and allowed practices do vary. We hope to start a conversation about the importance of engaging adaptive management practices to maintain the conservation values the easement was created to uphold. Resources and trainings for these organizations will follow.

The Center is striving to provide new perspectives on forest care through research and partnerships. If you have questions or would want to support our work, please let us know. We look forward to hearing from you.

Contact Information

Allyson Brownlee Muth, Ed.D.
  • Director, Center for Private Forests

Center for Private Forests

Address

416 Forest Resources Building
University Park, PA 16802

Center for Private Forests

Address

416 Forest Resources Building
University Park, PA 16802