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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Extension, advice and knowledge systems for private forestry: Understanding diversity and change across Europe

Lawrence, Anna; Deuffic, Philippe; Hujala, Teppo; Nichiforel, Liviu; Feliciano, Diana; Jodlowski, Krzysztof; Lind, Torgny; Marchal, Didier; Talkkari, Ari; Teder, Meelis; Vilkriste, Lelde; Wilhelmsson, Erik


The decisions and actions of private forest owners are important for the delivery of forest goods and services. Both forest ownership, and policies related to forest owners, are changing. Traditionally in most countries, government extension officers have advised and instructed forest owners, but this is evolving, with greater importance given to a range of actors, objectives, and knowledge types. Drawing on literature and mixed data from 10 countries in Europe, this paper explores how forestry advisory systems can be conceptualized, and describes their current situation in Europe. Drawing parallels with the concept of AKIS (Agricultural Knowledge and Information Systems), we propose the term FOKIS (FOrestry Knowledge and Information Systems), as both a system (a purposeful and interdependent group of bodies) and a method for understanding such systems. We define four dimensions for describing FOKIS: owners, policy goals, advice providers, and tools. We find different roles for extension in countries with centrally controlled, highly regulated forest management, and advisors in regions where forest owners have more freedom to choose how to manage their forest. We find five trends across Europe: increasing flexibility, openness and participation of owners as sources of information; increasing reliance on information and persuasion rather than enforced compliance; a shift of attention from timber to a wider range of ecosystem services such as biodiversity and recreation; a shift of funding and providers from public to private sector; emergence of new virtual communication tools. The approach provides a way to make sense of comparisons and change in FOKIS, and opens up an important research field.


Family forestry; Knowledge exchange; Policy tools; Private forest owners; Regulation; Technology transfer

Published in

Land Use Policy
2020, volume: 94, article number: 104522

Authors' information

Lawrence, Anna
Univ Highlands and Isl
Deuffic, Philippe
INRAE Natl Res Inst Agr Food and Environm
Hujala, Teppo
Univ Eastern Finland
Nichiforel, Liviu
Univ Stefan Cel Mare Suceava
Feliciano, Diana
Univ Aberdeen
Jodlowski, Krzysztof
Forest Res Inst
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Resource Management
Marchal, Didier
Wildlife and Forestry Dept
Talkkari, Ari
Karelia Univ Appl Sci
Teder, Meelis
Estonian Univ Life Sci
Vilkriste, Lelde
Latvia Univ Life Sci and Technol
Wilhelmsson, Erik
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Resource Management

UKÄ Subject classification

Information Studies
Business Administration

Publication Identifiers


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