African American Forest Owners in the South Tend to Shun Federal Assistance

forestAbout 60 percent of total forestland in the South — 244 million acres — is owned by private individuals, called family forest landowners. A number of federal programs, such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, are designed to guide and support these landowners to ensure sustainable management of their forest lands. There are also special incentives in these federal programs for African-American family forest landowners to encourage their participation.

But a new study by scholars at the University of Georgia finds that many African American forest landowners do not take advantage of the federal assistance programs available to them. The researchers found that many African American forest landowners lack the ability to pay the upfront costs to participate in federal assistance programs. They also found that many of these forests are so-called “heirs’ property” which has been passed down by families through many generations. Many of these heirs properties have no clear title, making it problematic to receive federal assistance. The researchers also found a high level of mistrust of government officials by the African American forest landowners due to past racial discrimination.

Puneet Dwivedi, an assistant professor of sustainability sciences in the School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia and the lead author of the study, states that “relevant policy changes with a more targeted and personal outreach approach coupled with legal assistance for clearing land titles is needed to increase participation in federal landowner assistance programs” by African American forest landowners. Dr. Dwivedi adds that a “lack of participation could lead to loss of these forest lands to developers, whereas an active participation offers an opportunity where forestry could provide regular income to these landowners.”

The study, “Perceptions of Stakeholder Groups About the Participation of African American Family Forest Landowners in Federal Landowner Assistance Programs,” was published in the Journal of Forestry. It may be accessed here.

Related Articles

1 COMMENT

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Black Film Project and Film Studies Fellowships Established at Harvard University

Henry Louis Gates Jr., professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, will direct the newly established Black Film Project, an initiative aiming to support independent films focusing on Black history and culture.

Higher Education Grants or Gifts of Interest to African Americans

Here is this week’s news of grants or gifts to historically Black colleges and universities or for programs of particular interest to African Americans in higher education.

Yale Library Acquires Digital Collection of Langston Hughes Papers

In a recent December upload, the Yale University Library added a collection of papers from Black poet Langston Hughes to the school's online archive. The collection contains correspondence between Hughes and other authors and civil rights activists of his time.

Academic Fields Where Blacks Earned Few or No Doctoral Degrees in 2022

In 2022, African Americans earned 1.2 percent of all mathematics and statistics doctorates, 1.2 percent of all doctorates in computer science, 1.7 percent of all doctorates in chemistry, and only 1.7 percent of all doctorates awarded in engineering disciplines.

Featured Jobs