Encouraging the application of sustainable timber harvesting practices: A review of policy tool use and effectiveness in the eastern United States

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


States use a variety of approaches to encourage landowners and loggers to apply ecologically-sustainable timber harvesting practices, the latter generically referred to as timber harvesting guidelines. A survey of 37 state forestry agency administrators in the eastern U.S. (defined as a contiguous region with the northwest and southwest borders being North Dakota and Texas, respectively) was conducted in 2000 to assess the extent and nature of state guideline programs and the various methods by which states encourage their use. The study found states in the eastern U.S. use a variety of policy tools to promote guideline use, with certain policy tools more common for certain target audiences (e.g., loggers) as well as the types of resources (e.g., wildlife habitat) addressed by the guidelines. Eighty-three percent of the programs directed at encouraging forest landowners in the eastern U.S. to use the timber harvesting practices identified in their state guidebooks are technical assistance, educational, or cost-share programs. Technical assistance and education programs are the most common policy tools used to assist loggers in applying sustainable harvesting practices. Technical assistance and cost-share programs consistently rank among the most effective policy tools for encouraging loggers and landowners to apply the guidelines. Comparing the level of program investment to perceived benefits, assistance programs and education programs rank most efficient landowner programs, whereas premium prices for products and preferential access to contracts are the two most efficient programs directed at loggers. The paper concludes with an assessment of emerging trends and additional information needs associated with encouraging the application of sustainable timber harvesting practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-216
Number of pages14
JournalWater, Air, and Soil Pollution: Focus
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research supported by the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Minnesota Extension Service and the Minnesota Forest Resources Council.

Copyright 2009 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • BMPs
  • Forestry
  • Policy tools
  • Sustainable forest management
  • Timber harvesting guidelines


Dive into the research topics of 'Encouraging the application of sustainable timber harvesting practices: A review of policy tool use and effectiveness in the eastern United States'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this