Written Paper

A review on forest owner classifications in Eastern-Europe methodological and policy-related aspects  [2015]

Priit Põllumäe Estonian University of Life Sciences, Institute of Forestry and Rural Engineering, Department of Forest Management, Fr. R. Kreutzwaldi 5, 51014 Tartu, Estonia. priit.pollumae@emu.ee [Corporate Author]

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Forest owners are an important group of people as they own and use a significant amount of our land resources. Their choices, decisions and behaviour are closely related to the benefits that forests provide to everyone. It is for this that information is needed about forest owners and their behaviour. Private forest ownership in Central and Eastern European countries is relatively new and there is not much knowledge about the new forest owners. Therefore, several owners’ classification studies have been made in different countries. The aim of this paper is to give an overview about some forest owners' classification cases in this region. Observed typologies and the methodological aspects are compared between the country cases and their policy importance is discussed. In almost all such studies, quite universal forest owner groups are found – the economically and ecologically oriented, the multiple users or producers and indifferent or passive owners. Depending on the data and specific clustering methods some variations of course exist. The similarity and the broad description of groups rises a question if such larger-scale classifications are in fact depleted. Also, there are several methodological downsides in the used clustering processes. Nevertheless, such classi¬fications are useful for designing large-scale and long-term objectives for management of forest resources. This is due to the high level of generalization of these owner types. However, using
such classifications for designing more specific tools for particular groups, might not be appropriate. Instead, qualitative research in describing particular owner groups might give new and more in-depth information about the characteristics of private forest owners. Also, these results might help more in developing forest and environmental policy tools.

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ISSN : 1024-0845