Individual vs. Collective Forest Management in Southeast Michigan

Individual vs. Collective Forest Management in Southeast Michigan

Michigan Project Banner


Funder: McIntire-Stennis Program USDA


Forests in Michigan are owned by collective bodies as well as by individuals. Such variations in ownership and control are associated with differences in management strategies and outcomes. Our project will build on past McIntire-Stennis support to examine matched individual vs. collective forest parcels to test the hypothesis that collectively managed forest parcels have greater forest cover (a key predictor of forest carbon) compared to privately owned forests parcels. We will use a rigorous, counterfactual-based approach to analyze differences in the performance of individually vs collectively owned parcels. We will also collect data on differences in management strategies and owner attitudes towards forests that may explain observed differences in forest cover outcomes. The research will examine forest parcels, owner/manager attitudes, management strategies, and outcomes in four counties in Southeast Michigan.

Michigan Project


More than half of the forested land in Michigan is owned privately. But the state also boasts the largest public forest system in the country (by proportion). In Southeast Michigan, in particular, municipal forest management programs are key, and often interact with homeowner associations or other collectively-organized community groups that own forest parcels. A better understanding of the diversity of ownership and management regimes and their impacts on Michigan’s forest outcomes is important to strengthen current approaches and possibly devise new ones to improve the forest health in Michigan. Using a mail in survey of landowners, and GIS data on forest cover, the project will go a long way to establish how ownership and management regimes are related to forest cover (and thereby, carbon) in Michigan’s forests. The proposed research is thus directly responsive to the carbon sequestration and climate change priority of the McIntire-Stennis program.