Canadian Forest Service Publications

Impact of changes in the sociological characteristics of small-scale forest owners on timber harvesting behavior in Quebec, Canada. 2016. Côté, M-A.; Gilbert, D.; Nadeau, S. Small-scale For. 15: 375-392.

Year: 2016

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 36632

Language: English

Availability: Not available through the CFS (click for more information).

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Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1007/s11842-016-9328-z

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Owing to the economic, social and environmental impacts associated with timber harvesting by small-scale forest owners, a number of studies have characterized their profiles, motivations and activities at a given time. However, little research has focused on how timber production has been affected by changes in the prevalence of types of forest owners over time. A 2012 telephone survey of Quebec (Canada) small-scale forest owners reveals relationships between level of harvesting and socio-demographic factors, and an evolution of these factors by examining the results of surveys conducted in 1973 and 1985. Within the same population, property size, distance between owners’ forest and homes, possession of a forest management plan, gender, education level, the length of ownership are correlated with how likely respondents were to harvest timber on their forest. Furthermore, comparison with results from previous surveys of the same population show an increase in the prevalence of characteristics associated with owners who place less importance on timber harvesting in their management decisions. Overall, since the initial survey of forest owners conducted in 1973, the size of forest holdings in Quebec has decreased, respondents’ education level has improved and the proportion of forests owned by women have increased. However, these changes are occurring at a relatively slow rate, giving government authorities time to implement policies to encourage harvesting among the new generation of forest owners.

Plain Language Summary

The results of this study show that it is possible to predict whether woodlot owners will harvest wood or not by tracking variations in certain characteristics over the years. The size of the woodlot, its distance from the owner’s home, the owner’s gender and level of education are all factors that influence wood harvesting. Variations in these characteristics, combined with demographic and sociological changes, such as urbanization and a rise in the level of education, could lead to a decrease in wood harvesting in private forests.

The results were gathered from a survey conducted in 2013 to define the profile, values and behaviour of woodlot owners and to identify trends and differences in comparison with similar studies conducted in 1973 and 1985.