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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Communication campaigns to engage (non-traditional) forest owners: A European perspective

Wilkes-Allemann, Jerylee; Deuffic, Philippe; Jandl, Robert; Westin, Kerstin; Lieberherr, Eva; Foldal, Cecilie; Lidestav, Gun; Weiss, Gerhard; Zabel, Astrid; Zivojinovic, Ivana; Pecurul-Botines, Mireia; Koller, Nancy; Haltia, Emmi; Sarvasova, Zuzana; Sarvas, Milan; Curman, Marta; Riedl, Marcel; Jarsky, Vilem


In Europe, private forest owners play an important role in achieving sustainability goals, such as those set by the European Green Deal. Efficient communication and coordination with these actors is therefore central. However, ongoing structural changes in forest ownership have in many cases silenced traditional communication channels, especially those involving owners of small forests. Their economic performance is often negligible at an individual level, yet collectively their forests play a pivotal role in a context of increasing demand for wood products. In this article, we analyse and compare forest campaigns in nine European countries. Specifically, we assess one-way and two-way communication models applying different techniques to engage (non-traditional) forest owners. Our analysis of 34 campaigns shows that (i) one-way communication models are still more widely used in the forest sector to engage non-traditional forest owners than two-way communication models; (ii) one-way communication aims at informing and is effective for short-term awareness raising, while two-way communication aims at persuading and is essential to trigger forest management activities over the long-term, (iii) interactive learning tools can play a crucial role for reaching and engaging (nontraditional) forest owners. We further conclude that campaigns could be improved by having 1) joint campaigns with public and private actors, 2) convincing narratives developed based on a good understanding of forest owners' motivations, 3) adapting the timing of campaigns to windows of opportunities and 4) developing intermediary associations (e. g. non-traditional forest owner associations) as connectors and trust builders between different actors as they play a crucial role in providing information to forest owners and supporting their engagement.


Campaigns; Small-scale forest owners; Communication channels

Published in

Forest Policy and Economics
2021, volume: 133, article number: 102621
Publisher: ELSEVIER

Authors' information

Wilkes-Allemann, Jerylee
Bern Univ Appl Sci
Deuffic, Philippe
Jandl, Robert
Austrian Research Centre for Forests (BFW)
Westin, Kerstin
Umea University
Lieberherr, Eva
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich)
Foldal, Cecilie
Austrian Research Centre for Forests (BFW)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Resource Management
Weiss, Gerhard
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
Zabel, Astrid
University of Bern
Zivojinovic, Ivana
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
Pecurul-Botines, Mireia
Forest Sciences Centre of Catalonia (CTFC)
Koller, Nancy
Technical University of Munich
Haltia, Emmi
Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)
Sarvasova, Zuzana
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague
Sarvas, Milan
National Forest Center - Slovakia
Curman, Marta
Croatian Forest Research Institute
Riedl, Marcel
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague
Jarsky, Vilem
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG4 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

UKÄ Subject classification

Communication Studies

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