MFL Landowners #2: When and How was land acquired?

***REVISED: Some old code in the statistical file was deleting observations. The revised charts reflect all the data. No significant changes in distributions.***

Chart of Decade Acquired by Ownership Size Category

This is the second in a series of posts on findings from a study of Managed Forest Law (MFL) participants. For other posts, click the tag, "MFL-stats."

Regardless of total woodland ownership size category*, most MFL lands included in the study were acquired after 1980. Spikes are evident in the 1990s for the medium and large categories, while the small category is steady from the 1980s through 2000s.

As reference, the late 1990s and early 2000s were a time when "parcelization" and "ownership fragmentation" started entering the forestry lexicon. Both terms describe the subdivision of large parcels into smaller ones, and reflect economic and ecological concerns. Also added to the lexicon was "new landowners" suggesting that more recent purchasers are qualitatively different from long-time owners. Various studies suggest that this is likely true, but the implications are not clear.

Chart of Method of Land Acquisition by Ownership Size Category

Most (~75%) land was purchased, with the rest coming through either inheritance or some other form of family transfer. Land transfer received increased attention lately. For example, Wisconsin is piloting a new extension program, Ties to the Land that is intended to help families transfer land from one generation to the next.

*The study design, which I'll explore in greater detail later in the series, relies on a sampling from three ownership size categories within the MFL: small (10-80 ac), medium (81-160 ac), and large (161-640 ac). For these two questions, the total sample size is ~ 1,1401,600. Distribution across size categories is small ~1/5, and medium and large was ~2/5 each.


NIFA temp logoThis project was supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, Grant #2006-55618-17022.

Do the table reflect the

Do the tables reflect the percent of parcel numbers or percent of acres? I wonder if acreage chart would look different and be more heavily weighted to older MFL entries and show the trend towards smaller parcel sizes over time. MCL

RE: Do the tables reflect the...

The tables reflect owners, not acres. You pose an interesting question, and perhaps the subject of next week's post. The only caveat I can think of is that the data reflect all woodland ownership acres, not just those in the MFL. That shouldn't pose a serious problem, though. Thanks!

acres or owners?

for the decades when land was acquired, and method of acquisition, are those %s acres or owners? e.g., did 75% of owners purchase their land, or is it 75% of all the land purchased? thanks. dbk

RE: acres or owners?

The percentages are for the owners that responded, which are a reasonable random sample of all MFL participants (more on that last bit later).

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