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Article
Peer-Review Record

Family Forest Owners’ Perception of Management and Thinning Operations in Young Dense Forests: A Survey from Sweden

Forests 2020, 11(11), 1151; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11111151
Reviewer 1: Anonymous
Reviewer 2: Anonymous
Reviewer 3: Anonymous
Forests 2020, 11(11), 1151; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11111151
Received: 28 September 2020 / Revised: 19 October 2020 / Accepted: 29 October 2020 / Published: 30 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Family Forests)

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

Journal: Forests (ISSN 1999-4907)

Manuscript ID: forests-964705

Title: Family forest owners’ perception of management and thinning operations in young dense forests: a survey from Sweden

 

Overall  Comments and Suggestions for Authors

 

Pros (or positive aspects)

Taking into account the importance of the background and necessity of this topic, the objectives are clear and matched well. The component of respondents seemed not to be biased much, and especially, the ratio of responses was very high. Authors also supported their results adequately with the relevant literatures in Discussion section.

 

Cons 1 (or negative aspects 1)

One weakness of this manuscript would be ascribed to the data collection and analytic results. That is, the composition of questions and method description were not enough, and thus, analytic results were not be able to perform properly. For example, the collected information from the respondents should’ve been more detailed with concrete questions and induced answer sheets (see the next paragraph for this comment). Also, questionnaire methodology could’ve been explained more with the reason and characteristics of the selected method. Additionally, authors should evidently mention about Likert’s scale in this study. Did respondents have a neutral choice, e.g., unable to say in table 9? A scale of 1-4 Likert could give rise to biased results because it always forced a positive or negative choice to respondents even when they have neutral opinions.

 

Cons 2 (or negative aspects 2)

Main weakness of this study arose from Results section. The contents were mainly dealt with the basic information as a large part, which seemed to be a demographic survey report. In the later part with the questions of thinning operation, it was not analyzed profoundly, but provided just a ball-park range and general concepts. I felt a lack of concrete, analytical results so the results were limited to be supported by relevant citations, which finally made unpersuasive. Specific examples and possible alternatives are as follows.

Authors analyzed and discussed the forest management activities based on the distance between the family forest owners’ residence and their forest and the independency issues on forest income, e.g., lines 330-348. Authors should’ve provided more concrete data analysis with numeric variables such as correlation between the distance, income, and/or activity frequency. Without the evident numeric correlation analysis, it would not be easy to support the Discussion.

 

In addition to this, authors stated that family forest owners are positive to the activities of forest management and thinning operations. This part should’ve been provided with the more informative analytic results such as how positive they are, the amount of income, profit, the ratio of profit to cost, distance to the forest, length of years for harvesting. Without these kinds of information in detail, the current manuscript does not give a meaningful message for administrative implement or further study.

Moreover, authors covered young stands and whole-tree harvesting throughout the whole manuscript, but there were no information about the forest type, species composition, and site quality, which can be influenced the family forest owners’ opinions. Additionally, the definitions e.g., young stands were ambiguous, and questionnaires related to the thinning should’ve been collected regarding the age of a stand.

 

Last words to Authors

I thank you for the author’s contribution on this issue regardless of the Editor’s decision for this manuscript. I hope that this manuscript can be improved by peer-reviewer’ comments for further work.

 

Author Response

Dear reviewer,

Thank you for your careful reading of the manuscript and the valuable comments for its improvement.

Based on your comments under Cons 1, we have clarified how data was collected by adding a table in the materials and methods section explaining the questions and response options included in the questionnaire. The limitations of the questionnaire design in relation to response alternatives has also been added to the discussion. Here we also mention about the use of Likert scales without a neutral alternative. 

Based on your comments under Cons 2, we now present in the results section the correlations between some of the variables (that are suitable for such analysis). However, since we only have ordinal and categorical data, some of the analyses you ask for have not been possible to perform with the available data. For example, we are unable to say how positive or negative they are and how large the cost or income must be in order to affect their attitudes in a significant way. This limitation has been clarified in the discussion section. 

Finally, we agree that the definitions of young dense stands may be ambiguous and this is partly since every FFO may have his/her own opinion about what constitutes a "dense" forest. Even if it was explained to them what type of stands the whole-tree harvesting method is intended for, It may still be hard for many FFOs to understand it in the same way and have a clear picture of how such a forest stand looks like. Especially for the less experienced foresters this could be a problem. This is something we also mentioned in our discussion. We also believe that it could be difficult for many FFOs to take into conisderation specific stand details such as site quality and species compositions when answering the questionnaire, and thus we wanted to keep the survey on a rather general level. However, in future studies this is of course something that could be of interest. 

      

Kind regards,

Thomas Kronholm 

Reviewer 2 Report

Reviewers' comments;

This paper is very interesting because it logically and concisely describes the FFO's awareness of young forest harvesting.

I hope the following comments will help to make the paper better.

Some specific concerns include:

-You should mention the significance of publishing in an international journal in your introduction.

-The 19 questionnaires for data collection are easier to understand in a table.

-The font in Table 6 needs to be corrected.

-If the average income of FFOs in Sweden is known, it should be shown.

-Please state whether the felling of young forests is an income in Sweden.

Author Response

Dear reviewer,

Thank you for your positive comments and the valuable suggestions for improvement of the manuscript.

In line with your suggestion we have added a table in the materials and methods section describing the 19 questions and their response options in more detail. The font in table 6 was also corrected. In the introduction the average income of FFOs has now been mentioned, and we have tried to clarify that currently the felling of young forests is often only a cost since the stems are left in the forest.

Finally, you also suggested that we should mention the significance of publishing in an international journal.  We have chosen to not explicitly state this in the introduction as we consider it more important that you and the editor find the paper significant for publishing based on its content rather than the authors’ own opinion of its significance. We hope you find it as interesting as we do.   

 

Kind regards,

Thomas Kronholm

Reviewer 3 Report

Dear authors

I find your paper interesting and well written still only some small things to be improved.

You have presented your sample by regions in Finland. You should explain what are the differences among reagions relevant for your research and is there any implications of those regions to your results. 

In 2.2. Data collection, please explain a little bit better about the factors that could potentially affect the attitudes of respondents towards specific methods in a negative way. (lines 121, 122)

Table 9. here you have those disadvantages and this should be better connected with methodology. Did you define those factors or the respondents?

BR

 

 

Author Response

Dear reviewer,

Thank you for your positive comments and the valuable suggestions for improvement of the manuscript. 

Based on your comments, we have clarified in the materials and methods section that the factors were defined in the questionnaire and the respondents evaluated their potential influence on a scale. We have also added a table with the survey questions and response alternatives, which also should clarify this issue. Further, we have also elaborated on why it was interesting to investigate FFOs in different regions.

 

Kind regards,

Thomas Kronholm

Round 2

Reviewer 1 Report

Journal: Forests (ISSN 1999-4907)

Manuscript ID: forests-964705

Title: Family forest owners’ perception of management and thinning operations in young dense forests: a survey from Sweden

 

Overall  Comments and Suggestions for Authors

In the 2nd rounding of peer-review

 

Dear authors,

I thank you for appreciating my comments regarding the manuscript and trying to revise it sincerely. As a research scientist in the same forestry field, I totally agreed your reply about the difficultly of collecting a data via questionnaire especially from forest owners. I am quite sure that the subsequent research will be more improved based on this article and information.

The authors have carefully addressed all issues according to my suggestion in the first rounding of peer-review. The revision is considered to be more objective and obvious especially for clear description in Method section and numeric correlation analysis in Result section. Moreover, additional comments on Discussion section have been provided with self-defensing drawbacks and reasons, which could give a scientific soundness. It is considered to be the best revision under the current research design and relevant data collection.

I felt that some details and more original research findings were missing as authors recognized the inherent disadvantages due to the data. Still, I agreed with the importance and necessity of this research topic. These are all comments on my side and the final decision is now in charge of Editors. I thank you again for this effort. Let’s make the earth better to live together.

Wishing you are with a better research in future work

Kinds regards,

Anonymous reviewer

 

Comments for author File: Comments.docx

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