Developing Strategies for Education of Underserved Forest Landowners

2001 Annual Report for LS01-129

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2001: $169,875.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2003
Region: Southern
State: Mississippi
Principal Investigator:
Glenn Hughes
Mississippi State University Extension Service

Developing Strategies for Education of Underserved Forest Landowners


A multi-state, multi-institutional effort was initiated to promote sustainable management of forests owned by underserved landowners in the south central U.S. This research and extension effort involves 1862 and 1890 land grant institutions, landowners, state and federal agencies, and others in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. We will conduct landowner focus group sessions and mail surveys in each state to learn more about landowner socio-demographics and their marketing/management needs. This information will help us develop, plan, and conduct 20 landowner workshops over the two-year life of the project. Short- and long-term evaluations will document changes in landowner behavior.

Objectives/Performance Targets

Our long-term goal is to enhance the management of farm and forestland owned by underserved landowners in the south-central U.S. This will require more knowledge of underserved landowners, what motivates them, their management experiences, and the marketing techniques they use in selling timber. This effort will use both research and outreach components to accomplish our goal through the following research and outreach objectives.

Research objectives:

1. Estimate the number and additional socio-demographics of individual forest landowners in various underserved categories (i.e., race, gender, age, education, tenure of ownership, acreage owned, ownership objectives, others);

2. Assess landowner use of sustainable forestry practices (use of management/marketing assistance, regeneration of harvested areas, and knowledge of Best Management Practices (BMPs); and

3. Determine the most effective means of stimulating the involvement of owners in educational programs, resulting in changed behavior.

Outreach objectives:

1. Utilize research results to develop, conduct, and evaluate educational programs (workshops) in the south-central region to address the needs identified by underserved landowners;

2. Develop an evaluation methodology to evaluate the short- and long-term effectiveness of these workshops for underserved forest landowners; and

3. Utilize research and evaluation results to produce a “model” workshop for use in other regions.


1. A project coordinator was hired to conduct day-to-day operations of this project;

2. A set of focus group questions was drafted and reviewed for use in the focus group meetings;

3. Meetings have been conducted in two states (Alabama and Louisiana) with state coordinators in those respective states. The purpose of these meetings is to familiarize all involved with the steps necessary to meet the project objectives.

Additional meetings are planned with state coordinators in Tennessee and Arkansas by the end of January, 2002. Landowner focus group sessions will begin in February, and should be completed by late March or early April.

Mail surveys will be distributed in the 5 states in April and May. Following tabulation of survey results, workshops will be held beginning in July.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Through the research component, we will learn more about underserved forest landowners, their needs and desires, and ways to design effective programs for this target audience. The outreach component will consist of a series of workshops designed to address the needs identified in the research component. Each workshop will address how to meet both current and future needs of forest landowners.

The outcome will be landowners more knowledgeable about how to realize the full benefit from their forestland.


Stephen Grado
Associate Professor
Department of Forestry
Mississippi State University
P.O. Box 9681
Mississippi State, MS 39762
Office Phone: 6623252792
Thomas Monaghan
Extension Professor
Department of Forestry
Mississippi State University
P.O. Box 9681
Mississippi State, MS 39762
Office Phone: 6623253905