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Working woods: A case study of sustainable forest management on Vermont family forests


Neal F. Maker
Rene H. Germain



Publication type:

Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Primary Station(s):

Rocky Mountain Research Station


Journal of Forestry. 112(4): 371-380.


Families own 35% of US forestland and 67% of Vermont forestland. Sustainable management of their woodlots could provide social and economic benefits for generations. We examined sustainable forest management across four counties in Vermont by evaluating the use of silvicultural practices and best management practices on 59 recently harvested, family-owned properties with at least 25 acres of timberland. We explored relationships between management practices and Vermont's Use Value Appraisal Forestland Tax Program (UVA), one of Vermont's primary forest management policy instruments. We found positive correlations between UVA enrollment and sustainable management practices and determined that UVA may be partly responsible for the increased application of silviculture in the study area compared with that in other parts of the Northeast. Even so, UVA's limited adoption and the overall prevalence of nonsilvicultural harvesting practices demonstrate that policy alone is not achieving widespread sustainable forest management among family forest owners in Vermont.


Maker, Neal F.; Germain, Rene H.; Anderson, Nathaniel M. 2014. Working woods: A case study of sustainable forest management on Vermont family forests. Journal of Forestry. 112(4): 371-380.


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