Forest ownership is changing across the world. In Europe, various trends make up these ownership changes, including: institutional changes in Eastern European countries with restitution and privatization of forest land; increasing activities of investment funds in forestry; new community forestry for income or conservation purposes; afforestation of agricultural land; and change in lifestyle, motivations and attitudes of owners towards their forests. Indicators associated with these changes include: less farming, ageing population, depopulation of rural areas, and new objectives and goals of forest owners.
At the same time, forest management objectives are becoming increasingly complex and often include timber production, biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and provision of other ecosystem services. As a result of changing ownership and management objectives, forest management practices are also changing. The interactions between ownership type, actual or appropriate forest management approaches, and policy, are fundamental in understanding and shaping forestry, and have been the focus of the COST Action FP1201 FACESMAP. This conference is the final event in FACESMAP, and aims to create a space for exchange of knowledge among researchers working on related topics in Europe within and outside the COST Action. Contributions from outside Europe are particularly welcome, if they present a comparison with European contexts.
The conference aims to tackle the issue of changing forest ownership broadly, by including trends and problems, drivers of change, implications for forest management and policy, and possible recommendations. It aims to answer the following questions:
- How are forest owner types in Europe changing? Which new forest owner types are emerging and how can they be described?
- How can these changes be explained? What are the relevant economic, social, cultural or political drivers behind such changes? What are the forest owners’ attitudes towards their forests and motivations for forest management?
- What are innovative management approaches for new and emerging forest owner types? How may forest management and the organisation of the forest sector be changing in view of changing forest ownership structures?
- Which policies address the development of forest ownership patterns and with what outcome? What policy instruments are effective in reaching different forest owner types?
- What are the broader implications of changing forest ownership for gender relations, entrepreneurship, rural development, and for diverse European policy goals such as biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation and adaptation, recreational services and public health, raw material supply for industries, and others?
- What conclusions and recommendations can be drawn for forest-related policies, forest management practice, further education and future research?
Theoretical and methodological approaches
The conference aims at analysing the phenomena and issues connected with forest ownership changes in Europe in a comprehensive way and thus invites multidisciplinary approaches, including sociological, economics and political science perspectives. Methods may range from quantitative statistical analyses and large scale surveys to qualitative case studies, as well as interpretative and discourse analytical approaches. For the conference, comparative studies are particularly
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna; European Forest Institute Central-East and South-East European Regional Office (EFICEEC-EFISEE); COST Action FP1201 - Forest Land Ownership Changes in Europe: Significance for Management and Policy (FACESMAP)
Head of committee: Gerhard Weiss (Austria), University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, and European Forest Institute, gerhard.weiss(at)boku.ac.at.
Members: Zuzana Dobsinska (Slovakia), Diana Feliciano (Portugal), Teppo Hujala (Finland), Anna Lawrence (UK), Gun Lidestav (Sweden), Zuzana Sarvasova (Slovakia) and Ivana Zivojinovic (Austria).