Who Owns the Forests?: Public Land Acquisition and Conservation in Florida

Molly Harnish, Dr. Jason Dunick, Department of Economics, George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030

The relationship between natural resource ownership and use is complex. The Florida Preservation 2000 Act, which was passed in 1990, offers a unique opportunity to study the effect of a change in ownership on forest health and the forest products industry. Passed in response to concerns about the impact of increased development on wetlands and forests, the Act set aside a total of $3 billion for the purpose of public land acquisition and conservation. I examine the effect of this increased funding for public land acquisition in the state of Florida and the resulting change in timberland ownership on the state’s forest products industry and forest health. Using state-level data for Florida and the rest of the Southeast region—Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia—between 1987 and 2007, I conduct a difference-in-difference analysis comparing environmental and economic measurements of forest conditions in Florida, including growing stock, ownership, and income in subsectors of the forest products industry, before and after Preservation 2000 with the same indicators in the rest of the Southeast during the same time period. I also use plot-level measures to examine changes in forest conditions in Florida before and after Preservation 2000 at a finer level of detail. I code observations from 1990-2000 as before Preservation 2000 and observations from 2001-2007 as after. I find no significant differences between Florida and the Southeast after Preservation 2000, indicating that the increase in public ownership did not measurably affect forest health or the forest products industry in Florida. 

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Molly Harnish

Institution: George Mason University

Type: Poster

Subject: Economics

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 5
Date/Time: Tue 12:30pm-1:30pm
Session Number: 4144