Creative Research Medal 2020
Puneet Dwivedi, associate professor of forest sustainability, studies the impact of heirs’ property on sustainable forest management among African American forest landowners in the southern United States. Title to an heir’s property belongs to the deceased person, resulting in a shared but undivided ownership structure. This increases the vulnerability of African American landowners to potential land loss, thus affecting their ancestral ties with the land. A clear land title could facilitate African American forest landowners’ participation in federal and state cost-share programs, helping them grow family income through improved forest management, thereby aiming for land ownership and successful intergenerational land transfer. Dwivedi and his collaborators have built partnerships with state and federal agencies, nonprofit organizations and other universities, including Fort Valley State University. His research has helped African American forest landowners in practicing sustainable forest management in Georgia and beyond.