Many of the issues of importance to forest management and policy have important social components. Yet, in the South, social research on forests has lagged behind economic and biophysical research. In this paper we identify some important new opportunities for social research on forests in the South, focusing on non industrial private forests because they represent the majority of the South's timberland. We identify six important areas for social research. One, research on diversity of forest land owners and how different landowners relate to and use their forests. Two, social relationships of forest landowners, including household and family structure and social network analysis. Three, research that applies recent advances in common pool resource management to issues such as forest health and water quality. Four, qualitative research that seeks to understand how environmental values are constructed and operate in complex decision-making processes and social relationships. Five, work on forest-related rural development, particularly the in poor, non-urbanizing areas of the South that have been affected by globalization and declines in agriculture. Six, research on urbanization and forests.

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