Using data collected from a series of focus groups, this study examines how landowner assistance programs (which may include management plans, cost-share, technical assistance and advice, and education components) affect family forest owner behaviour in the USA. Not surprisingly, most owners who participated in assistance programs had pre-existing management objectives. Participation in the management plan and cost-share components was found to facilitate the stewardship of private forests by assisting and reinforcing the behaviour of those landowners who already intend to manage their land in some pre-conceived manner. Advice and educational components appeared to do more in terms of introducing owners to new ideas. The mix of components offered as part of a landowner assistance program should consider the goals of the program and which components will be most effective in achieving those goals.
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