Hierarchical Bayesian models for small area estimation of county-level private forest landowner population

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Authors Neil R. Ver Planck, Andrew O. Finley, Emily Silver Huff
Paper Category
Paper Abstract The National Woodland Owner Survey (NWOS), administered by the USDA Forest Service, provides estimates of private forest ownership characteristics and owners’ attitudes and behaviors at a national, regional, and state levels. Due to sample sizes prescribed for inference at the state level, there are insufficient data to support county-level estimates. However, county-level estimates of NWOS variables are desired because ownership programs and education initiatives often occur at the county level and such information could help tailor these efforts to better match county-specific needs and demographics. Here, we present and assess methods to estimate the number of private forest ownerships at the county level for two states, Montana and New Jersey. To assess model performance, true population parameters were derived from cadastral and remote sensing data. Two small area estimation (SAE) models, the Fay-Herriot (FH) and the FH with conditional autoregressive random effects (FHCAR), improved estimated county...
Date of publication 2017
Code Programming Language R

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