Abstract: Over the last twenty years, the forest products industry sold much of its land base throughout the U.S., including an estimated eighteen million acres in the southern U.S. Through management decisions, the new landowners will directly impact local ecology, economics, and society. Previous research has focused on broad trends, overlooking the impact that this event will have locally on rural timber dependent communities. This study mapped timber-land ownership change in five southwest Alabama counties where timber production is concentrated. To identify where land changed hands, industrial timberland ownership from the early 1990s was compared to current land ownership. Following national trends, the majority of that land (63%) is now owned by absentee corporate timberland owners. While little fragmentation or use change occurred, leaving the forest seemingly untouched, there were some ecologically important changes, including 54,000 acres purchased for conservation. The implications of these changes will be discussed.
Southeastern Geographer – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Mar 4, 2015
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