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Harvard Forest Data Archive


Ecological Momentary Assessment of Family Forest Owners in New England 2016

Related Publications



  • Lead: David Kittredge, Emily Huff
  • Investigators: Katheryn Rawson, Karina Agbisit
  • Contact: Emily Huff
  • Start date: 2016
  • End date: 2016
  • Status: completed
  • Location: New England
  • Latitude: +40.5 to +47.5
  • Longitude: -74.3 to -66.9
  • Elevation: 0 to 1900 meter
  • Taxa:
  • Release date: 2017
  • Revisions:
  • EML file: knb-lter-hfr.301.2
  • DOI: digital object identifier
  • EDI: data package
  • DataONE: data package
  • Related links:
  • Study type: short-term measurement
  • Research topic: conservation and management; regional studies
  • LTER core area: populations
  • Keywords: humans, land use, management, surveys, timber harvest
  • Abstract:

    Family forest owners (FFOs) across the U.S., and particularly in New England, are critically important to the health and future of the nation’s forests. It is important to understand the behavior of FFOs because they in the United States collectively own more forested land than the federal government or any other type of owner, and their actions and decisions will impact the public goods these forests provide. Typical studies of FFO behavior use self-reported survey data; participants are asked to recall past behavior or predict future behavior. These surveys are prone to bias, as it can be difficult to remember when things occur or to accurately predict what one will do in the future. Ecological momentary assessments, used commonly in medicine, are a fresh approach to measuring behavior by querying the subject in real-time. The PING project was designed to reduce this bias and provide a more accurate snapshot of how landowners engage with their land on a short-term basis. Participants in two experimental groups were invited to take part in a month-long survey, where the same questions were sent to them in the method of their choosing (text, via social media, or e-mail) once per week, asking about woodland engagement that week. Participants also took a pre- and post-survey to capture both demographics and feedback on the method. Over 61% of participants completed all 4 surveys and there was no statistically significant difference between the day a participant received their survey. Demographics were consistent with national statistics on woodland owners. A plurality of woodland owners in the study harvested timber for personal use and collected non-timber forest products. Finally, 86% of participants found the method of contact and number of questions reasonable, while 77% found the weekly contact reasonable. A plurality of respondents reported that their answers were typical of a given week, but that the survey question made them think more about their woods than they would have otherwise, suggesting that this contact method could be useful for both research and outreach. Use of this ecological momentary assessment approach over a longer time period may yield useful (and quality) information about when and how woodland owners engage to inform conservation-based programming.

  • Methods:

    We recruited participants with at least 10 acres of land by accessing public property tax records to find addresses of people to whom we sent invitation postcards. We also contacted organizations with focuses on the environment/conservation or with a request to send out invitations to their members who may be interested in participating in our project. Interested participants contacted our project email account and were entered into the study and assigned an unique ID. After an initial welcome email, participants received a series of 6 surveys (a preliminary survey, 4 weekly 1 question ping surveys, and a final evaluation survey) created and distributed with the Qualtrics survey platform.

  • Use:

    This dataset is released to the public under Creative Commons license CC BY (Attribution). Please keep the designated contact person informed of any plans to use the dataset. Consultation or collaboration with the original investigators is strongly encouraged. Publications and data products that make use of the dataset must include proper acknowledgement.

  • Citation:

    Kittredge D, Huff E. 2017. Ecological Momentary Assessment of Family Forest Owners in New England 2016. Harvard Forest Data Archive: HF301.

Detailed Metadata

hf301-01: PING survey data

  • Compression: none
  • Format: csv
  • Type: csv