Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3289-3002

Year of Publication

2021

Degree Name

Master of Science in Forest and Natural Resource Sciences (MSFNRS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture, Food and Environment

Department/School/Program

Forestry and Natural Resources

First Advisor

Dr. Thomas O. Ochuodho

Abstract

Sustained timber supply relies upon balanced forest age distribution, where the level of harvesting and mortality is compensated by regeneration and growth among younger age classes. However, current forest inventory trends from the white oak growing region reveal sustainability threat from declining white oak regeneration and recruitment leading to disproportionate inventory structure. Consequently, there exists growing concern among stakeholders on long-term sustainability of white oak timber and its economic implications, particularly in Kentucky, because of the significance of the species to the state’s economy. This research aims to examine past and current inventory levels of white oak in Kentucky using Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data; project inventory levels of white oak sawlogs in Kentucky, based on timber quality, by employing Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) together with FIA data; and assess potential economy-wide impacts of projected white oak timber supply to dependent industries in Kentucky using Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model. Results indicate that white oak dominated forest structure is rapidly transforming to forest largely dominated by large-diameter trees with remarkable decline in small-diameter trees. While the overall projected inventory levels of white oak sawlogs remain adequate to support current harvest levels until 2058, inventory levels of high-quality white oak sawlogs would be continuously declining throughout the projection period (2018 to 2068). Economically, the overall potential impact of projected white oak timber supply during the 40-year planning horizon (2018 to 2058) would be negative as reflected by reductions in GDP and welfare, which is driven mostly by the reduced supply of high-quality white oak sawlogs to distilleries sector. These results can be used to advocate for more proactive forest management practices to stabilize a sustainable supply of high-quality white oak timber in Kentucky against the economic consequences of the status quo under business as usual scenario.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2021.233

Available for download on Thursday, July 06, 2023

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