This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Pinning Down the Change: A Community-Level Study of Timberland Ownership Change




Randle, Anne

Type of Degree



Forestry and Wildlife Sciences


Over the last twenty years, the forest products industry has sold much of its land base throughout the U.S. The majority of that land is being transferred from corporations in what was a traditional vertically-integrated industry to new corporate owners in the form of timber investment management organizations (TIMOs) and real estate investment trusts (REITs). A smaller portion has transferred to the public, non-governmental organizations (NGO), non- industrial private forest (NIPF) owners, and to privately-held and vertically-integrated corporations in the forest products industry. By controlling management of the forest, these new owners will directly impact ecosystems, economics, and society. Previous research has focused on national or regional trends, overlooking the major impact this development will have locally. In this study, timberland ownership change was mapped in five counties in southwest Alabama where timber production is concentrated. First, new owners were identified and organized according to ownership type and location, either absentee or local. Second, maps of new owners were analyzed to determine what variables influenced each class and where impacts of this change might be concentrated. Findings provide insight into the local effects of timberland ownership change and how those influence and interact on a regional scale.