Title

Implementation of fuel reduction treatments on nonindustrial private forests in Mississippi

Advisor

Grala, Robert K.

Committee Member

Grado, Stephen C.

Committee Member

Roberts, Scott D.

Committee Member

Gordon, Jason S.

Date of Degree

5-1-2020

Original embargo terms

Complete embargo for 2 years||Complete embargo for 2 years||5/16/2022

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

College

College of Forest Resources

Department

Department of Forestry

Abstract

Fuel reduction treatments are management activities implemented to reduce the quantity of hazardous fuels in forests to decrease the probability of severe and intense wildfires. As nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) landowners own most forests (77%) in Mississippi, their involvement is essential for effective and coordinated fuel reduction treatments to achieve a large-scale wildfire hazard reduction. However, NIPF landowner attitudes towards wildfire risk and mitigation activities implemented to reduce wildfire risk are not well understood. This study determined attitudes of NIPF landowners towards wildfires, current trends in implementation of fuel reduction treatments, socioeconomic and geospatial factors affecting treatment implementation, and landowner willingness to pay (WTP) for prescribed burning. Data were collected via a mail survey of NIPF landowners and public sources including Mississippi Forestry Commission and National Land Cover Database. The contingent valuation method (CVM) was used to quantify the WTP for prescribed burning. Data were analyzed using seemingly unrelated and binary probit, and binary logit models. Approximately 68% of landowners were concerned about wildfires, but only 45% implemented hazardous fuel reduction treatments. Prescribed burning was the most commonly implemented and the least costly treatment. Furthermore, only 30% of landowners were likely to implement fuel reduction treatments in the next five years. Past implementation of treatments, concern about property damages due to wildfires, familiarity with wildfire prevention and mitigation programs, size of forest land owned, ecological services ownership objectives, past experience with wildfires, and motivation from neighbors’ implementation of treatments were positively associated with the likelihood of implementing fuel reduction treatments in the next five years. Landowners were willing to pay from $14.70 to $66.86 per acre, with an average of $41.39 per acre, for implementing prescribed burning on their forest land. The payment amount was negatively related to WTP, whereas education level, tolerance of smoke from prescribed burns, concern about property damages due to wildfires, and consideration of liability issues as an important factor were positively related. Results will help better understand NIPF landowner wildfire mitigation activities and associated social and geospatial factors, and aid in the development of more effective strategies and resource allocation for wildfire prevention and mitigation.

URI

https://hdl.handle.net/11668/16507

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