Personal networks affect the flow information and behavior through social groups. We investigated the role of personal relationships in the flow of information and adoption of sustainable forest management behavior by private forest landowners. Among the 1767 owners of 20 or more acres of Minnesota forest land surveyed, 90% have received forestry information from at least one source including 65% from a peer and 53% from a professional forester. Forestry information personal network size ranged from 0 to 14 with a mean of 2.92. Network diversity, expressed as the number of different types of information sources within the network, was relatively high relative to network size, suggesting that most landowners value diverse perspectives, despite reporting fairly small networks. Larger acreage owners, management plan holders, and frequent visitors to their forest land had significantly larger and more diverse networks. Network size and diversity were statistically unrelated to ownership tenure, landowner age, and resident/absentee status. Significantly more respondents named a peer or a professional as their most helpful source than other source categories. Satisfaction with forestry information networks was positively associated with network size and diversity, further suggesting that landowners prefer information from a variety of different sources. The results suggest that landowner education designed to foster peer learning and relationship building between landowners, foresters, loggers, and other groups may promote adoption of sustainable forest management practices.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, State and Private Forestry and the University of Minnesota Extension . Bjorn Betzler, Amy Kay Kerber, Jon Klapperich, and Amanda Kueper assisted with survey administration. Pamela Jakes, Michael Kilgore, David Knoke, and three anonymous reviewers provided valuable advice in the preparation of the manuscript.
- Nonindustrial private forest
- Private forests
- Social network analysis