Micah Fern http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7161-7054
Date of this Version
Small-scale Forestry (2021) 20:503–516
Operating as ecological engineers, the increased distribution and abundance of wild hogs (Sus scrofa) has caused considerable socio-economic impacts. The international scope of economic research providing wild hog damage estimates are often confined to agricultural crops, while damage estimates among forest plantations are lacking. In Alabama, private landowners hold the majority of timberland acreage and are less equipped to absorb financial losses from wild hog damage than their industrial counterparts. A survey was conducted to estimate the economic impact of wild hogs, namely costs of damage and control, to privately owned forestlands. The survey was distributed in the summer of 2016 to a sample of 1160 private landowners across the State. A 35% response rate was achieved from the sampled group. Survey results indicated in 2013 to 2015 longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) and loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) were the only species damaged by wild hogs. Wild hogs caused damage to 34 and 13% of forest acres in longleaf and loblolly plantations, respectively. At $50.40 per acre, costs associated with replanting damaged longleaf acres were double those for loblolly. Survey results suggest the southern half of Alabama holds the largest wild hog populations and sustained the most damage to forest stands. Consequently, landowners in this region invested the most capital on control methods where the average cost per control technique ranged from $12–2750. Additionally, landowners who did not have wild hogs on their property were willing to pay around $14 per acre more for eradication than those with. We hope the findings from this survey will provide a better understanding of the economic impact of wild hogs in young forest plantations.
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