Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Grala, Robert K.

Committee Member

Grebner, Donald L.

Committee Member

Grado, Stephen C.

Committee Member

Petrolia, Daniel R.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Forest Resources

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Forest Resources


Department of Forestry


Private forest land in Mississippi provides a wide range of ecosystem services. This study examined nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) landowner familiarity with ecosystem services and conservation programs and quantified the proportion of forest land they were interested in managing for ecosystem services as well as determined compensation levels required for implementing forest management strategies featuring management restriction to facilitate production of multiple ecosystem services. The data collection process was based on a structured questionnaire administered to 2,025 NIPF landowners in Mississippi. Findings indicated that landowner familiarity with conservation programs was low. However, they were familiar with ecosystem services found in Mississippi. Familiarity with conservation programs was positively associated with gender, household income, possession of a forest management plan, and membership in conservation organizations. The study also determined whether landowners were interested in managing their forests for ecosystem services and the quantified proportion of forest land they would manage for such services. Findings revealed that landowners were interested in managing for multiple ecosystem services and 62% of the forest land could be available for production of such activities in the form of pine and bottomland hardwoods. The proportion of forest land that landowners were interested in managing for ecosystem services was positively associated with the percentage proportion of natural pine and bottomland hardwoods as well as personal recreation goals while negatively related to a possession of a written forest management plan. The research also used a contingent valuation to quantify monetary compensation levels that landowners were willing to accept to adopt forest management restrictions to facilitate ecosystem services. The willingness to accept (WTA) compensation levels ranged from $190.22 to $595.23/ha/year. Higher compensation was required with a higher level of management restrictions. WTA compensation to implement forest management activities was positively associated with bid level and long-term investment goal. Findings will be useful in facilitating outreach activities in terms of identifying groups of interested landowners, forest land available for multiple ecosystem service production, and quantifying the total cost of implementing forest management facilitating an increased production of ecosystem services.