Year of Publication

2012

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture

Department

Forestry

First Advisor

Dr. John M. Lhotka

Abstract

The Commonwealth of Kentucky is taking steps to expand bioenergy production in response to federal policy initiatives as well as environmental and energy security concerns. The success of this industry will be impacted by the supply of feedstock available from private individuals who own a majority (78%) of forest resources in the state. Despite a developing body of bioenergy research, little is known concerning the social availability of forest biomass for energy production. This study measures intent to harvest energy wood among family forest owners using a mail-­‐based survey and tests the effect of educational materials provided to participants. The theory of planned behavior is used to model factors that affect landowner intentions. Two-­‐thirds of respondents reported that they intend to include energy wood in future harvests, but the educational material treatment did not affect intentions. Respondents’ attitudes, perceived subjective norms, and perceived control each had a significant effect on intent to harvest. Respondents also identified barriers that may prevent them from harvesting, providing forestry professionals with a list of challenges to overcome if supply is to be maximized. The results of this study are valuable for all stakeholders involved in the development of a sustainable biomass and bioenergy industry.

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