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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

The Impact of Swedish Forest Owners' Values and Objectives on Management Practices and Forest Policy Accomplishment

Lidestav, Gun; Westin, Kerstin


Swedish forestry policy principles rest on voluntarism and a mutual interest among forest owners, the industry, and the state that timber production continuously be kept at a high level at the same time as environmental goals are achieved. An estimated 313,000 small-scale forest owners own half of Sweden's forestland, and thus their objectives and values, and how these impact their management behavior, are matters of national policy interest. From a survey targeting a random sample of small-scale Swedish forest owners (n = 652), we found that overall forest owners found consumption objectives to be more important than production objectives. In line with this, they perceived social values, such as recreation, to be more important than economic values. Yet, on an aggregate level, timber production goals were fulfilled. Further, most forest owners left some of their productive forest untouched and applied restoration management, which could be interpreted as either intentional or unintentional considerations of the environmental goals. However, the environmental goals were not met on a national level. It can therefore be concluded that the voluntariness of the current forest policy seems to work when supported by the market's interest in and mechanism for timber production but fails when only "soft " instruments such as information campaigns, advisory services, and education are at hand to promote environmental goals. Additional economic incentives, such as payment schemes, might be required.


Survey; Forest policy; Forestry activities; Forest production; Environmental consideration

Published in

Small-Scale Forestry
2023, Volume: 25, number: 5, pages: 4087-4105
Publisher: SPRINGER

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG8 Decent work and economic growth

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
    Forest Science

    Publication identifier


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