Perspectives of four stakeholder groups about the participation of female forest landowners in forest management in Georgia, United States

PLoS One. 2021 Aug 24;16(8):e0256654. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0256654. eCollection 2021.


As the number of female forest landowners (FFLs) in the United States continues to rise, there is an increasing need to understand the perceptions of stakeholder groups about opportunities and challenges faced by FFLs in the context of sustainable forestland management. This study utilizes the technique of SWOT-AHP (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Treats-Analytical Hierarchy Process) to understand the perceptions of four stakeholder groups (FFLs, private foresters, government representatives, and non-profits) in Georgia-a significant forestry state located in the Southern United States. Sixteen factors (four under each SWOT category) were selected through a comprehensive literature review and detailed interviews with individuals from the identified stakeholder groups. A survey was created using these factors that asked stakeholders to compare them in their respective SWOT categories. An additional survey was created for each stakeholder group where survey participants compared the highest-ranking factors in each SWOT category. We found that all stakeholder groups prioritized weaknesses over the other SWOT categories. Results showed a significant need for relevant educational outreach programs that cater specifically to FFLs. Additionally, researchers found a need to promote the interest of future generations in forestland management as all stakeholder groups felt that limited interest from future generations was the most important threat. This study will directly feed into regional, national, and international attempts to increase the participation of minority family forest landowners in sustainable forest management through integrated forest policy development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Conservation of Natural Resources*
  • Female
  • Forests
  • Georgia
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Policy Making
  • Stakeholder Participation / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

Grants and funding

e authors acknowledge the funding support provided by the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (Grant # 2021-68006-33880), and the Bradley/Murphy Trust. No grant number is associated with the grant received from the Bradley/Murphy Trust. The funders covered the direct expenses related to the study but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The specific roles of these authors are articulated in the ‘author contributions’ section. While one author, DA, is associated with a commercial company, it did not impact any research decisions, nor does it alter our ability to sharing the data and materials used for our study.