An evaluation of West Virginia's managed timberland tax incentive program

Jennifer Fortney, Kathryn G. Arano, Michael Jacobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Preferential property tax treatment of forested land is part of legislative policy in all 50 states. West Virginia's Managed Timberland (Managed Timberland) is designed to retain private forest land in forested use. In West Virginia, although private forest land owners hold 9.7. million acres of forest land (83% of forest land), Managed Timberland enrolled acres have remained at approximately 2 million acres since 1998. This lack of enrollment may be a cause for concern regarding the success and benefits of the program. This study evaluates West Virginia's Managed Timberland program, examines the factors that influence forest landowners' decision to participate in the program, and proposes strategies for increasing enrollment and improving the program. The data for this study were collected from a mail survey of participants and non-participants of the program conducted in the fall of 2008 on West Virginia forest landowners. Participants tended to hear about the Managed Timberland program from a professional forester and the majority of them were satisfied with the program administration. Aspects of the program that participants opposed most strongly were the annual contract renewal requirement and the tax assessors' overriding authority. Most participants (51%) indicated that a longer contract time was a favorable change to the program. Many non-participants reported that they were not enrolled in Managed Timberland because they had never heard of the program. Although most non-participants were undecided as to whether they would enroll in the future, 25% said they would consider it. Significant factors influencing enrollment were age, income, place of residence, county location of the enrolled property, and perceived benefits of the program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-78
Number of pages10
JournalForest Policy and Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Forestry
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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