Sustaining Ecological and Economic Diversity Among Limited Resource Landholders by Expanding Opportunities for Management of Productive Woodlands

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2001: $180,431.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2005
Region: Southern
State: North Carolina
Principal Investigator:
Sarah Warren
North Carolina State University

Annual Reports


  • Additional Plants: native plants, trees, ornamentals
  • Miscellaneous: mushrooms


  • Animal Production: manure management
  • Crop Production: windbreaks
  • Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, extension, focus group, on-farm/ranch research
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, new enterprise development, agricultural finance, market study
  • Natural Resources/Environment: afforestation, biodiversity, habitat enhancement, riparian buffers, riverbank protection, soil stabilization, wetlands, wildlife, hedges - woody
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures


    Goals for this research and educational project were twofold: (1) to strengthen the capacities of limited-resource traditionally under-served forest landowners so that they could sustainably and profitably manage their forest resources, and (2) to identify opportunities for and constraints on their participation in timber and alternative forest-products sectors. Combining productive and sustainable woodlands with farming systems raises quality of life and diversifies farm incomes, especially for landowners who have not always able to take full advantage of farm and forestry assistance program opportunities.

    The multi-institutional research and education team comprised North Carolina State University, North Carolina A&T State University, the Land Loss Prevention Project, and the Concerned Citizens of Tillery. We worked with voluntary organizations, community leaders, and local and state agencies in seven coastal plain counties. These (Duplin, Halifax, Northampton, Robeson, Sampson, and Warren in North Carolina, and Brunswick in Virginia) were characterized by many small private forest landholdings and high proportions of limited-resource traditionally underserved landowners. To accomplish our goals, we created outreach publications, collected and analyzed information from forest landowners, and held numerous listening and workshop sessions throughout the research counties. We maintain a website called “Sustainable Woodlands” (, and will locate continuation funding for producing outreach materials and conducting workshops.

    Project objectives:

    The overarching goal of the project has been to strengthen the capacity of limited-resource traditionally underserved farm landowners to raise the economic and ecological values of their land by integrating sustainable forestry practices into farming systems. Short-term goals, such as improving understanding of farm and forest decision-making, evaluating how government incentives and markets for traditional and emerging woodland management options could be harnessed by land owners, and enhancing knowledge of these options through field days, demonstrations, and information campaigns, defined the research and education objectives.

    Objective 1: to develop and apply methods for identifying and contacting landholders.

    Objective 2: to describe and analyze the preferences, opportunities, and constraints that inform decision-making about woodland management within farming systems.

    Objective 3: to analyze and select technically proven options for woodland management that are sustainable and appropriate to farm family goals and economic systems.

    Objective 4: to extend these options to the client population through education and outreach.

    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.