Digitalization and its associated technology are shaping the world economy and society. Data collection, data exchange, and connection throughout the wood supply chain have become increasingly important. There exist many technologies for the implementation of Industry 4.0 applications in forestry. For example, the integration of harvester production data throughout the wood supply chain seems to have strong optimization potential but it is faced with several challenges due to the high number of stakeholders involved. Therefore, the objective of this article is to analyze the legal, social, and economic conditions surrounding the integration of harvester production data integration in Germany. For analysis of the legal and economic conditions, a narrative literature analysis was performed with special consideration of the relevant German and European legal references. For determination of the social conditions, a qualitative content analysis of 27 expert interviews was performed. Results showed that legal ownership of harvester production data cannot be clearly defined in Germany, but there exist several protection rights against misuse, which can define an ownership-similar data sovereignty. Furthermore, harvester data use can be restricted in the case where personal data are traceable, based on European data protection law. From a social perspective, the stakeholders interviewed in the study had different opinions on data ownership. Stakeholders require specific criteria on the data (interfaces) and other factors for the acceptance of new structures to allow successful harvester data integration. From an economic perspective, harvester production data are tradeable through varying transaction forms but, generally, there is no accepted and valid formula in existence for calculating the value or price of harvester data. Therefore, the authors advise discussing these issues with key stakeholders to negotiate and agree on data ownership and use in order to find a suitable solution to realize optimization potentials in the German wood supply chain.
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