Private Land Management and Voluntary Incentives Project Page

This project investigates the role that social influence plays in the land management of small private forests in the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and the collective impact on the UP landscape of thousands of land management decisions by non-industrial private forest owners.

We are gathering data through stakeholder interviews, GIS and remote sensing analyses, and agent-based modeling (our "ForestSim" model). We integrate the data from our interviews, large scale efforts such as the National Woodland Owner Survey, and the US Census Bureau to populate the model with realistically-behaving landowner agents who make land management decisions such as harvesting. We verify that our model simulation results are feasible with remote sensing analysis to measure land use change that has occurred in the past.



Ultimately, we would like to provide a land use planning tool that can help identify programs to ensure that our natural resources will support our communities and economies in the long term.


Principal Investigators: Prof. Audrey Mayer, Prof. Mark Rouleau, Prof. Richelle Winkler


Current Students:

Jennifer Riehl and Margaret Morrison (MS students in Environmental & Energy Policy), stakeholder interviews

Lauren Dupey and Gabriela Shirkey (undergraduate students), stakeholder interviews

Riccardo Tortini (PhD student in Geological & Mining Engineering & Sciences), remote sensing of small harvests


Publications and Presentations:

Mayer AL and MD Rouleau. 2013. ForestSim model of impacts of smallholder dynamics: forested landscapes of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. International Journal of Forestry Research.

Schubert JR* and AL Mayer. 2012. Peer influence of nonindustrial private forest owners in the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Open Journal of Forestry 2(3):147-155.

Tortini R and AL Mayer. 2013. International Association for Landscape Ecology – US Region, Austin TX. “Remote detection of harvesting of nonindustrial private forests in the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan (USA) using Landsat annual series.”

Mayer AL, MD Rouleau, M Roeser, and J Schubert. 2011. International Association for Landscape Ecology – US Region, Portland OR. “Modeling the impacts of communication among nonindustrial private forest owners on forested landscapes.”


This work is funded in part by the National Science Foundation (Award #1251932, PI: Mark Rouleau) and the USDA McIntyre-Stennis program (Awards #1010025, 1110036, 1210038, PI: Audrey Mayer).