Forest landowner harvest decisions in a new era of conservation stewardship and changing markets in Maine, USA
Jianheng Zhao, Adam Daigneault, Aaron Weiskittel
Published in Forest Policy and Economics 118 (2020) 102251
Forest managers and policymakers across the globe are continually exploring ways to better understand how
various socio-economic conditions and shocks can influence timber supply. In this paper, we develop a statistical
harvest choice model for the state of Maine, a historically important timber supply region in North America.
Landowner-level timber harvest choices were estimated using a multinomial logit model of two products
(sawlogs and pulplogs), under varying management intensities (partial harvest, clearcut), and ownership classifications
(public, private, conservation) across varying market conditions. Results indicate that stumpage
prices have a significant effect on forest landowners’ harvest decisions, regardless of the ownership classification
or harvest intensity. Timber supply is positive and inelastic with respect to stumpage price, with state-level ownprice
elasticities ranging from 0.27–0.31 for sawlogs and 0.43–0.73 for pulplogs, with elasticities increasing with
harvest intensity. Simulations that increase the proportion of forest designated as private conservation estimated
that doing so could reduce Maine’s total timber supply by 2%, although the level of sawlog harvests could
increase by 0.5% as conservation landowners supplement their non-timber objectives with higher value wood.
Our approach to modeling the complex timber harvesting patterns across a diverse array of both private, public,
and conservation owners can be leveraged to inform policies focused on sustainable timber flows. Furthermore,
it indicates that increases in conservation forestland area does not necessarily lead to large reductions in timber
harvests, particularly in a state like Maine where most conservation land is still managed as working forest.