NEW PUBLICATION: Social networks in private forestry

newpubFormer post-doc and current social scientist with the WDNR Tricia Knoot and I recently published a paper on the social networks of foresters working in Northern Wisconsin. The citation and abstract are below. If you’d like a copy, please let me know (see here).

Knoot, T. and M. Rickenbach. 2014. Forester networks: The intersection of private lands policy and collaborative capacity. Land Use Policy 38(2014):388-396.



Privately owned forestland provides abundant ecosystem goods and services to society at scales beyond the individual forest parcel. However, successful mechanisms to encourage broad-scale management in privately owned, multifunctional, landscapes are relatively limited. In the United States, state agency and private foresters may be poised to help facilitate landscape-scale management given their role as gatekeepers to private landowner incentive programs or emerging markets for ecosystem goods and services. A key question remains as to the collaborative capacity of public and private sector foresters, especially in the face of evolving private forestry incentive programs, some of which have shifted toward public–private partnerships (PPP’s). We used qualitative interviews and a social network survey with professional foresters in Northern Wisconsin, an area with a high demand for diverse forest ecosystem services, to identify the structure of current business networks among land managers in the region and characteristics of these relationships that may influence collaboration. Of the nearly 300 different individual professionals identified, most (86%) were state, consulting, or industry foresters, suggesting a relatively homogeneous network of professionals and potential need for other types of natural resource professionals to tie into existing foresters’ networks. We found that central network positions were occupied by all three types of foresters, while the qualitative analysis suggested the private forestry incentive program is likely driving, in part, network configuration. Interviews yielded a nuanced understanding of foresters’ relationships, including the impact of forest policy changes on public–private partnerships and specifically the growing role of private foresters in providing private lands forestry services and the need for successful mechanisms to reduce conflict and improve collaborative capacity among professionals.

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