The transaction cost approach is used to explain why small non-industrial private forest (NIPF) ownerships are increasing in the U.S. We argue that the number of small NIPF owners have increased because: 1) a significant amount of forestland is no longer used economically if primarily for timber production, but rather for non-timber forest products and environmental services (particularly where population density is high), 2) when a person makes frequent use of non-timber products and services, owning forestland is more efficient for them because it saves the transaction costs involved in getting them from the market, 3) forestland parcelization takes place when non-timber value increases faster than timber value, and 4) marginal value for non-timber product is diminishing much faster than that for timber production. The paper also discusses implications of the parcelization of NIPF ownerships on forest management.
Zhang, Yaoqi; Zhang, Daowei; Schelhas, John. 2005. Small-scale non-industrial private forest ownership in the United States: rationale and implications for forest management. Silva Fennica, Vol. 39(3): 443-454