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How important are value priorities versus knowledge for the management of forests?

Research project The management decisions of individual private forest owners have a significant impact on the ecosystem services provided by forests. This project examines the drivers of forest management strategies among private forest owners in Sweden, attempting to examine the role of knowledge and values, but also how forest owner identity influences forest management. This knowledge may aid in the governing of private forestry towards the multitude of goals stipulated in the forest policy.

The aim of this project is to examine the drivers of forest management strategies among private forest owners in Sweden. The focus is to explore the role of knowledge (actual knowledge and confidence) as well as value priorities. In addition, the potentially mediating role of forest owner identity is examined. This project expands the understanding of drivers of forest management decisions by examining the basis for different management strategies, including production, biodiversity, recreation, and climate adaptation management, for example. In addition, results contribute to a better understanding of how psychological factors influence forest management.

Head of project

Louise Eriksson
Research fellow
E-mail
Email

Project overview

Project period:

2018-01-01 2020-05-31

Funding

Brattåsstiftelsen, two-year project (747000 SEK, 475000 SEK), Louise Eriksson

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Geography

Research subject

Human geography
  • Project members

    External project members

    Clas Fries, forest management specialist, the Swedish Forest Agency

Project description

The importance of private forest owners

With a large share of privately owned forests in Sweden, the management decisions of individual private forest owners, or family forest owners, have a significant impact on the ecosystem services provided by forests. The aim of this project is to examine the drivers of forest management strategies among private forest owners in Sweden, with a specific focus on the role of knowledge and values but also the potentially mediating role of forest owner identity.

 

Management for different objectives

With growing demands to use the forest for different purposes as well as societal and environmental uncertainties (e.g., forest disturbances and climate change), decisions regarding how to manage forests are highly complex. This project expands the understanding of drivers of forest management decisions, by examining different management strategies, including production, biodiversity, recreation, and climate adaptation management, for example.

 

Are management behaviors based on knowledge or value priorities?

While there is a need to distinguish between actual knowledge of management and a subjective assessment of knowledge (or confidence), these complexities have largely been ignored in previous research. The project will examine to what extent knowledge, in terms of actual knowledge and confidence, but also value priorities (e.g., the emphasis placed on production or environmental values) may explain management decisions. In addition, the heterogeneity of forest owners justifies the need to also consider how forest owner identity is associated with what type of forest management the owners implement.