Parcelization, the subdivision of land into smaller ownership parcels, is a phenomenon affecting
private forest land across the nation, including Minnesota. Forest land parcelization has been found to
have a marked adverse effect on wildlife habitat, timber availability, water quality, and recreational
access. In 2005, the Minnesota Forest Resources Council (MFRC) identified forest parcelization as
the single most important policy issue affecting the economic and ecological health of the state’s
This report describes an assessment of forest land parcelization across a ten county region of
northern Minnesota. Using ArcMap as the primary data management and analysis tool, digital files
containing the boundaries of all real estate parcels in the ten county study area were analyzed to
characterize parcelization activity across private forested landscapes in northern Minnesota.
Regression analysis was subsequently used to identify parcel and landscape characteristics that are
associated with a parcelized forest landscape. A new metric for characterizing a parcelized forest
landscape is proposed to address the deficiencies associated with using average parcel size to describe
forest land parcelization. This new metric uses average parcel size, but takes into account the spatial
extent of the private forested landscape as well as the distribution of private forest parcel size across
this landscape. The study’s large spatial scale makes it unique among forest land parcelization studies.
Block-Torgerson, Kayla; Kilgore, Michael A.; Taff, Steven J.; Snyder, Stephanie.
Forest Land Parcelization in Northern Minnesota: A Multicounty Assessment.
University of Minnesota.
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