This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Socio-Economic Impact of Concentration of Timberland Ownership in Alabama




Gopaul, Abhimanyu

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology


The purpose of this thesis is to examine the relationship between concentration of timberland ownership at the county level which has more than 50% of its population living in rural areas and quality of life in Alabama. Divestiture of land by the forest products industry may have resulted in continued concentration in some counties or fragmentation of ownership in others. Based on the classic study of Walter Goldschmidt, it is hypothesized that the higher the concentration of timberland ownership, the poorer the quality of life. Counties with higher concentrated pattern of timberland ownership are compared to lower concentrated pattern of ownership. Statistical analysis shows that socio-economic well-being decreases as the concentration of timberland ownership increases. The T-Test reveals that the group of counties with high concentration of timberland ownership has higher poverty rates, food insecurity rates, unemployment rates, a higher percent population receiving SNAP and K-12 students receiving school lunches, and lower income per capita, median household income and population density. However, no significant differences are found for infant mortality rate and education attainment. The Spearman’s correlation, support the results showing that the higher the level of concentrated pattern of timberland ownership, the poorer the quality of life. Timber dependency, absentee ownership and internal colonialism explain the poor socio-economic well-being of these counties of high concentrated pattern of timberland ownership. An interrelationship is established among concentration of timberland ownership, timber dependency and absentee ownership with low socio-economic well-being. Keywords: Timberland; Ownership; Socio-Economic Well-Being; High and Low Concentrated Pattern of Timberland Ownership, Rural Areas, Alabama.