Learning from Landowners: Examining the Role of Peer Exchange in Private Landowner Outreach through Landowner Networks

Amanda M. Kueper, Eli S. Sagor, Dennis R. Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


More than one-third of forested land in the United States is owned by individuals or families, making these lands a significant source of the nation's forest resources and services. Yet investments in traditional expert-led outreach efforts, including financial incentive programs and technical assistance for management plan development, have failed to engage the vast majority of U.S. forest landowners. Through case studies of five diverse landowner networks, this study explored peer exchange among landowners as an alternative means of fostering engagement. Sixty-one in-depth interviews revealed common themes across cases that contributed to landowner participation and learning, including maintaining an atmosphere conducive to social learning, emphasis on local information and hands-on learning, and access to rich networks that include both practical peer-derived information and trusted technical expert-derived information. These findings enrich existing landowner engagement theory by offering insight into landowner networks as an avenue for serving an ever-growing population of family forest owners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)912-930
Number of pages19
JournalSociety and Natural Resources
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Received 16 May 2011; accepted 1 July 2012. The authors thank Dr. Kristen Nelson and Dr. Daniel Philippon for their suggestions concerning this study as members of a Graduate Committee, as well as three anonymous reviewers for their assistance in improving this article. This research was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture–Forest Service, State and Private Forestry. Address correspondence to Amanda M. Kueper, 115 Green Hall, 1530 Cleveland Avenue North, Saint Paul, MN 55108, USA. E-mail: kuepe011@umn.edu


  • Australia
  • Landcare
  • United States
  • case study
  • family forest owners
  • master volunteer
  • peer exchange
  • peer-to-peer learning
  • woodland owner cooperative


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