European private forest owner typologies: A review of methods and use


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Many of the authors of this paper come from EFI's network.

The increasing diversity of non-industrial private forest owners (PFOs) in Europe has been recognized by policy makers and the forestry sector at large. Typologies of these owners have been developed to provide an understanding of the diversity of owners' attitudes, values, beliefs, management objectives and behaviour. We analyzed PFO typologies from 28 European countries published from 1985 to 2015 in peer-reviewed journals and grey literature with respect to 1) research approaches and methods used; 2) typology objectives and problems addressed; 3) policy and management recommendations given. Using an on-line questionnaire we asked the first authors of the most relevant publications to retrospectively assess 4) the use of their typologies in education, science and forest policy. Most of the 66 publications reviewed share the common objective of providing a better understanding of forest ownership. Typologies were also developed to address roundwood mobilization, delivery of public goods, forest management approaches, involvement in PFO associations and entrepreneurship. The most common methodological approach was quantitative where owners were grouped by k-means clustering into 2 to 6 types and labelled with various names. Most frequently used labels were Multiobjective owners, Recreationists, Investors, Farmers, Indifferent owners, Conservationists, Multifunctional owners and Self-employed owners. Policy implications remain vague. The typologies had mostly been used in teaching and occasionally by politicians, civil servants or stakeholders. Only a half of the typologies had a follow-up study or was updated over time by the authors. After decades of classifying PFOs, it seems necessary to explore the link between typologies and forest owners' overt behaviour.

Andrej Ficko, Gun Lidestav, Áine Ní Dhubháin, Heimo Karppinen, Ivana Zivojinovic, Kerstin Westin, European private forest owner typologies: A review of methods and use, Forest Policy and Economics, 2017.