Posted: November 30, 2023

Private landowners in Pennsylvania are open to the use of controlled fires.

A controlled burn conducted in an oak woodland. Photo: Penn State: Jonathon Chester

A controlled burn conducted in an oak woodland. Photo: Penn State: Jonathon Chester

Managers of public forests in Pennsylvania have been using controlled burns to manage state-owned tracts for more than a decade. The practice has been shown to promote tree species such as oak, reduce the growth of invasive plant species and even reduce tick populations. Now a survey by Penn State researchers indicates that owners of private forest land in the state would like to use prescribed fire to manage their woods, too.

The research also revealed that many private forest landowners are willing to pay to use controlled fire as a management tool, said Jesse Kreye, assistant research professor of fire and natural resources management in the college.

The study, spearheaded by Arun Regmi, doctoral degree candidate in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, was a collaboration between Kreye and Melissa Kreye, assistant professor of forest resource management, also in the same department.

In findings published in Forest Policy and Economics, the researchers reported that most forest landowners surveyed elected to enroll in proposed controlled-burn programs and almost a quarter of them were willing to pay up to $200 per acre.

—Jeff Mulhollem

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