Factors related with nonindustrial private forest landowners' forest conversion decision in Cumberland Plateau, Tennessee
Poudyal, N. C., O. K. Joshi, D. G. Hodges, and K. P. Hoyt.  2014.  Forest Science, 60(5):988-993.

Abstract:
revious studies of nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) landowners examined factors affecting their management decisions such as harvesting, selling land, and enrolling in cost-share programs. Converting forestland into nonforest uses, however, is yet another important and perhaps more critical decision that could have irreversible impacts on forest resources. Understanding factors that directly or indirectly influence such decisions would be important in curbing the conversion rate, which is believed to be increasing rapidly in some of the privately owned forest landscapes in the US South. This study used a discrete choice model of forestland conversion decision on data collected from a survey of NIPF landowners in the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee to investigate the factors related with a landowner's decision to convert forestland. Results reveal that landowners' decisions to convert forestland were significantly influenced by sociodemographic factors, ownership characteristics, and expected land returns from forestry and alternative land uses. Further, timber damage due to a native pest (southern pine beetle) increased the probability of conversion, whereas the motivation of landowners to pass the property to heirs decreased it. These findings will be useful for forestry professionals and extension specialists trying to understand the characteristics as well as motivations of landowners who are changing their forest land-use decisions.