PRIFORT - Research into the Organization of Private Forest Owners in the Western Balkan Region

Starting point of the project is the lacking voluntary establishment of private forest owners' associations in the six Western Balkan countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia though already eleven years have passed since the transition from planning to market economy and from public to private ownership expressed by the restitution of private forests to their former owners. Thus, the main objective of the project is to evaluate the preconditions for the formation of self-supporting interest associations of private forest owners in the Western Balkan region.

Secondary objectives aim at a better understanding of private forest owners and common forest property regimes (community forests) with regard to the following items:

  • Acreage and geography: forest area, number of owners, fragmentation (= number of parcels per owner), geographical and topographical distribution, etc.
  • Silviculture (in comparison to state forests): tree species composition, age classes, volume and increment per ha, coppice and high forests, forest vegetation zones, etc.
  • Economic management (in comparison to state forests): annual harvests (coniferous and broadleaved), annual harvests in percent of annual increment, wood assortments (industrial wood and fuel wood), average variable gross margin, etc.
  • Legislation: forest regulations with reference to private forest owners (command and control, permissions), cadastral problems, securing of private property rights by the state, extension service, legal obstacles to private interest representation, etc.
  • Sociology: socio-demographic characteristics (age, profession, education), lifestyle (rural, urban), interests/values in forest, contribution to household income, readiness to join voluntarily an interest organization of private forest owners, etc

The results are published in EFI Research Report 25, 2011.

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