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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Environmental Conservation

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



The majority of the forested land in New England is owned by private landowners, a large number of whom are at or above retirement age. In the coming decades these landowners are going to be making decisions about what happens to their land once they no longer own it. Female landowners specifically play a critical role in the long-term planning and decision-making process. Women generally have a longer life expectancy than men and assess their level of confidence and financial stability in ways that differ from men. This difference in perception influences the decisions they make about their land. Despite this, little is known about decisions female landowners are making and barriers they face to formulating informed decisions that are in line with their goals. In order to understand more about female landowners’ estate planning objectives, I conducted a mixed-methods study. Through a mail survey and subsequent qualitative interviews, I found that women were more likely than men to have lower confidence confidence in moving forward with plans for the land, lower certainty that their financial resources were adequate to move forward, and less certainty when it came to future decisions about their land. However, women who were certain about their estate planning objectives were more likely than men to have a conservation-based decision. The results of this mixed-methods study are applied to peer-to-peer network events and outcomes are discussed.


First Advisor

Paul Catanzaro

Second Advisor

David Kittredge

Third Advisor

Marla Markowski-Lindsay

Fourth Advisor

Ezra Markowitz