Journal of Forest Economics > Vol 19 > Issue 3

Small forest landowner preferences for working forest conservation contract attributes: A case of Washington State, USA

Sergey S. Rabotyagov, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington, United States, , Sonja Lin, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region 1323 Club Dr., United States
Suggested Citation
Sergey S. Rabotyagov and Sonja Lin (2013), "Small forest landowner preferences for working forest conservation contract attributes: A case of Washington State, USA", Journal of Forest Economics: Vol. 19: No. 3, pp 307-330.

Publication Date: 0/8/2013
© 0 2013 Sergey S. Rabotyagov, Sonja Lin
JEL Codes:Q2C25D1Q5
Conservation contractsWorking forest conservation easementsSmall forest landownersChoice experimentsStated preference surveyRandom parameters-error components logit (RPL-EC)


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In this article:
Relevant literature 
Conceptual motivation 
Choice experiment and data collection 
Econometric model 
Results and discussion 
Expected contract acceptance 
Conclusions and policy implications 


In Washington State, small forest landowners (SFLO) play an important role in maintaining forest cover on the landscape as well as associated ecosystem services. This paper examines landowner preferences for the attributes of working forest conservation contracts (WFCC) using a choice experiment. The attributes examined are contract duration (from 10 years to perpetuity), forest management requirements, and the extent of forestland covered under the contract. We find that contract attributes are valued very differently depending on landowner objectives and harvesting behavior. Landowner characteristics and forestland spatial characteristics including distances to development and large public forestlands were found to significantly influence the likelihood of contract acceptance. While a significant portion of preference heterogeneity remains unobserved, we identify several key sources of landowner preference heterogeneity which allows for a better understanding of which landowners are likely to enroll in voluntary forest conservation contracts and may have implications for improved targeting of contracts.