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Featured Professional: Peter Kolb, Montana State University Extension Forestry

Montana’s Private Forest Landowner Survey Results

In recent years, Montana’s private forest landowners supplied about 30% of the annual timber harvest despite comprising only about 20% of the forest land.

To better understand this important group, Peter Kolb, forestry specialist with the MSU Extension service, surveyed nearly 1,900 of the state’s 80,000 private landowners by mail. One hundred ninety seven landowners responded, representing nearly 90,000 of Montana’s 3.7 million acres of private forestland.

The results showed that creating/maintaining wildlife habitat, growing large old trees, fire hazard reduction, having insect/disease free trees, and controlling noxious weeks were rated highly important landowner objectives, regardless of ownership size. A difference between large and small ownerships emerged when the objective was growing trees for future log harvests. Large landowners (>100 acres) rated this important, while small acreage owners rated it somewhat less important than other objectives.

The property objectives held by family forest landowners have implications for conserving Montana’s natural resources and the future of the state’s wood products industry. This survey suggests that overall, private landowners showed a tendency towards conservation values as opposed to maximizing timber-related profits.

This survey is a preliminary portion of a more complete study being conducted by MSU Extension.
Contact Peter Kolb at 406-243-4705 for more information about this study.

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