Evaluation of the USDA forest service National Woodland Owner Survey estimators for private forest area and landowners: A case study of Montana

Neil R. Ver Planck, Alexander L. Metcalf, Andrew O. Finley, James C. Finley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    The National Woodland Owner Survey (NWOS), conducted by the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service, is the standard for state- and national-level estimates of private forestland and ownerships in the United States. Here, we examine the current estimator used by NWOS for total private forest area and private forest landowner population size along with one alternative estimator. The estimators are evaluated at the minimal resolution used by NWOS, of a state. Montana is used as a case study by combining freely available cadastral data with remote sensing in a geographic information system (GIS). These data allow us to evaluate the estimators for a known private forest ownership population. In addition, the impacts of nonresponse biases are assessed for each of the estimators. The results indicate that the current estimator performs as well as the alternative estimator under conditions of full response; however, the estimator performance varied under conditions of nonresponse. We offer the alternative estimator to explicitly account for nonresponse over the implicit nonresponse assumptions of the current NWOS estimator under the various conditions of nonresponse examined.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)525-534
    Number of pages10
    JournalForest Science
    Volume62
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Oct 7 2016

    Keywords

    • Cadastral
    • Design-based
    • Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA)
    • Missing at random
    • Nonresponse

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