USING TAX RECORDS TO TRACK FOREST OWNERSHIP CHANGES: LAKE COUNTY, MINNESOTA 1996-2006
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Over time, due to economic and social trends, patterns of forestland ownership change. Because forestland owners have differing goals and levels of forestry expertise, shifts in ownership can affect ecosystems and timber supply. In order to anticipate the effects of ownership change, it is important to track forestland ownership change as it occurs. Completed in collaboration with the University of Minnesota Extension, this master’s project examines changes in forestland ownership in Lake County, Minnesota between 1996 and 2006 by piloting an approach to categorization and analysis of county forestland tax records. Each owner was categorized into an ownership category, such as Corporate and Non-Industrial Private Forest Owner (NIPF). Changes in the acreages for the ownership types were mapped on a section-by-section basis in a geographic information system (GIS). By exploring the resulting maps in concert with the underlying dataset, patterns of forestland ownership, as well as individual land transfers, can be identified. The results of this project reveal the benefits and drawbacks of approaching land ownership change through tax records, while also providing insight into the dynamics of land ownership in Lake County. Forest industry ownership declined dramatically during the 1996-2006 period, and split into the NIPF, Nonprofit, and “Unknown” ownership types. Because of the low spatial resolution possible with this method, it is best used in concert with other investigatory methods.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
SubjectLake County, Minnesota
Corporate and Non-Industrial Private Forest Owner (NIPF)
Geographic Information System (GIS)
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