Does Forestry Pay? Case studies of four African American family forestland owners in Georgia, United States

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2017: $260,888.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2021
Grant Recipient: University of Georgia
Region: Southern
State: Georgia
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Puneet Dwivedi
University of Georgia
Since 1920 African Americans have lost about 14 million acres of land, a staggering loss of capital with ramifications for landowners and their rural communities. Land retention and acquisition are vital for preserving and reclaiming the heritage of many rural African Americans, improving rural economies, and serving as a platform to build generational wealth necessary for sustaining rural communities into the future. One proposed means of land retention is using forest income to meet property tax obligations. In this context, this study explores the ability of African American forest landowners to meet their tax obligations with forest income through four case studies. For each case, we compared two management scenarios: business as usual and active forest management. We found that while active forest management is more profitable than business as usual, both are profitable in the right environment. Our most important finding is the importance of Conservation Use Valuation to reduce tax obligations, something out of the reach of heirs' property landowners, which may contribute to heirs' property loss. Our results inform current initiatives for resolving heirs' property issues and promoting sustainable forestry among African American forest landowners for ensuring regular income and successful intergenerational land transfer.
Peer-reviewed Journal Article
Puneet Dwivedi
Noah Goyke
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.