Special Issue "Management of Family Forests"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Ecology and Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2020) | Viewed by 5288

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Mikko Kurttila
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Natural Resources Institute Finland, P.O. Box 68, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland
Interests: ecosystem services; family forest owners; forest management planning; forest owners decision-making; non-timber forest products; reconcilation of use of natural resources
Dr. Emily S. Huff
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
Department of Forestry, Michigan State University, 480 Wilson Road, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA
Interests: family forest owners; psychological distance; social network analysis; behavioral science; stakeholder analysis

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Family-owned forests vary widely in size, vegetation type, and management. In addition, the characteristics of the owners and their ownership goals can be quite different. Variation also exists both between different geographical locations as well as within certain regions. This is a benefit, leading to a diversity of forest types and giving endless opportunities for high quality and interesting research. As the role of forest resources has been highlighted recently in research about climate change mitigation and the bioeconomy, the need to study family forest management, the use of these forests, as well as motivations and decision making processes of family owners, has become increasingly important.  

This Special Issue of Forests is focused on research related to management of family forests and the behaviour of these forest owners as ultimate decision makers in their forest properties. Research articles may focus on any aspect of forest management that could result in increased material and immaterial benefits to family forest owners, introduction of public or privately funded governance mechanisms that support the increased provision of biodiversity and ecosystem services from family forests as well as owner participation in these programs, and finally related investigations on owner characteristics and opinions. Studies in which comparisons between countries or regions are made with respect to the above mentioned topics, are also welcome.

Dr. Mikko Kurttila
Dr. Emily S. Huff
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Family forest owners
  • Decision making
  • Forest management
  • Governance mechanisms

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Place Attachment and Concern in Relation to Family Forest Landowner Behavior
Forests 2021, 12(3), 295; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030295 - 03 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 814
Abstract
Contemporary approaches to studying family forests have identified distinct subgroups of landowners through segmentation analysis. Our study expands on this approach, incorporating the concept of place to provide a novel perspective on how the cognition and emotions that create place attachment and landowner [...] Read more.
Contemporary approaches to studying family forests have identified distinct subgroups of landowners through segmentation analysis. Our study expands on this approach, incorporating the concept of place to provide a novel perspective on how the cognition and emotions that create place attachment and landowner concerns influence certain landowner behaviors. We specifically modeled legacy planning and future landowner ownership behavioral intentions/behaviors. A mail survey was administered to a statewide sample of Maine family forest landowners that measured place attachment and landowner concerns regarding biophysical and social conditions on their woodland. Results based on the 878 respondents (54.9% response rate) indicated place attachment and landowner concern are related to legacy planning, land ownership, and development behavioral intentions, and when considered in conjunction with segmentation analysis, it was found the majority of family forest landowners in the sample experienced strong place attachment and moderate levels of concern. Our study suggests that forest outreach, forest policies and additional family forest research should further consider and incorporate the intangibles of the landowner experience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Family Forests)
Article
Family Forest Owner Management Decisions for Participants Enrolled in a Forest Property Taxation Program in Michigan
Forests 2021, 12(1), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12010035 - 30 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 739
Abstract
Family forest owners affect the ecosystem services that forests provide and, thus, their management decisions are of interest to the forestry sector. There are many programs available to help family forest owners reduce the management costs, some of which involve a reduced tax [...] Read more.
Family forest owners affect the ecosystem services that forests provide and, thus, their management decisions are of interest to the forestry sector. There are many programs available to help family forest owners reduce the management costs, some of which involve a reduced tax burden in exchange for active management. Research Highlights: this study is the first to examine the family forest owners enrolled in a statewide forest property taxation program in Michigan in order to understand how parcel characteristics affect management decisions. Background and Objectives: the goal is to understand the relationships between parcel characteristics and family forest owner management decisions for these program enrollees. Materials and Methods: a dataset of enrollment information was compiled and cleaned, which resulted in 20,915 unique forest stands in the state. Key variables analyzed via multinomial regression include stand condition, size, density, forest types, and forest practices. Results: region, forest type, and stand size significantly predicted forest practices. Conclusions: given that stand and parcel characteristics significantly predict forest practice, it may be useful to use these data, rather than self-reported management data from the owners themselves in order to understand future management trajectories of private forests. These data also describe forest practices of enrollees in a tax program, demonstrating that the program is successfully incentivizing management and shedding light on how these programs can promote conservation and stewardship of private forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Family Forests)
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Article
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 - 30 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 724
Abstract
Family forest owners (FFOs) own 48% of Sweden’s productive forest land and are responsible for 59% of the annual gross felling. They are thus important suppliers of raw materials to the forest industry and the energy sector. Environmental goals on the national and [...] Read more.
Family forest owners (FFOs) own 48% of Sweden’s productive forest land and are responsible for 59% of the annual gross felling. They are thus important suppliers of raw materials to the forest industry and the energy sector. Environmental goals on the national and international level promote an increased use of renewable resources in order to replace fossil-based fuels, but since the current supply of forest products is already fully utilized by the industry, there is a need to find new types of biomass assortment. One way to increase the biomass supply is to replace traditional pre-commercial thinning operations, where fallen stems are left in the forest to rot, with whole-tree harvesting of small-diameter trees using novel technologies and methods. This will however require willingness of the FFOs to shift their management practices. The objectives of this study were, therefore, to elucidate FFOs’ perceptions of management and thinning operations in young dense forests, identify if there are differences depending on their demographic backgrounds, and clarify which factors could potentially affect their willingness to implement whole-tree harvesting in young dense forests. Data were collected through a survey administered to a random sample of 842 FFOs, with a response rate of 53.4% (n = 450). The results show that FFOs in general are positive towards implementing whole-tree harvesting in young dense stands, and are often also willing to promote the development of suitable stands. Factors such as forest size, geographical location, distance from home to their forest, degree of self-employment and current need for cleaning were found to significantly affect their attitudes. The study highlights that the development of cost efficient harvesting techniques and working methods is important if the industry wants to increase the FFOs’ willingness to engage in whole-tree harvesting in young dense forest stands and thereby increase the supply of biomass. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Family Forests)
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Article
The PING Project: Using Ecological Momentary Assessments to Better Understand When and How Woodland Owner Group Members Engage with Their Woodlands
Forests 2020, 11(9), 944; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11090944 - 28 Aug 2020
Viewed by 723
Abstract
Research Highlights: Ecological momentary assessments (EMAs) are a fresh approach to measuring behavior by querying the subject in real time. Typical studies of FFO behavior use self-reported survey data. FFOs across the United States collectively own more forested land than any other ownership [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: Ecological momentary assessments (EMAs) are a fresh approach to measuring behavior by querying the subject in real time. Typical studies of FFO behavior use self-reported survey data. FFOs across the United States collectively own more forested land than any other ownership category, and their actions will impact the public goods these forests provide. Thus, better measures of FFO actions are critical to understanding how these public goods may be affected. Background and Objectives: In this pilot study, we evaluated the potential of ecological momentary assessments to understand family forest owner (FFO) engagement with their woods. We sought to test recruitment, attrition, and participant reaction to the method. Materials and Methods: FFOs belong to woodland owner associations were sent the same questions weekly for a month, asking about woodland engagement. Results: Nearly 90% of participants completed all four surveys and the majority found the method reasonable. Most participants thought about their woods weekly, but a longer time period is needed to measure temporal management trends. Conclusions: This approach may yield real-time and useful information about natural resource engagement to inform conservation-based programming and outreach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Family Forests)
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Article
Sustainability of Small-Scale Forestry and Its Influencing Factors in Lithuania
Forests 2020, 11(6), 619; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11060619 - 01 Jun 2020
Viewed by 854
Abstract
Small-scale private forestry is widespread in many countries and occupies 40.3% of the total forest area in Lithuania. The pursuit of sustainability has become one of the main goals of forest policy. In order for small-scale private forestry to be based upon sustainability [...] Read more.
Small-scale private forestry is widespread in many countries and occupies 40.3% of the total forest area in Lithuania. The pursuit of sustainability has become one of the main goals of forest policy. In order for small-scale private forestry to be based upon sustainability principles, its sustainability must first be assessed and analyzed. This study assesses the sustainability of 385 small forest holdings of Lithuania using established forest sustainability assessment methods and performs an analysis of the factors influencing the sustainability of small forest holdings using correlation analysis. The Lithuanian small-scale forest holdings were categorized in terms of their level of sustainability as being very high and high (assessed on a five-point scale as 3.5–5 points)—13.6%, middle (2.5–3.5 points)—28.8%, or low and very low (1.0–2.5 points)—57.6%, with the corresponding proportion of holdings indicated as a percentage. A total of 40 independent variables were hypothesized, and their correlation with the sustainability assessments of the holdings was verified. The correlation analysis found mostly weak but reliable (p < 0.05) relationships with 23 independent variables: very weak—12 variables, weak—7 variables, middle—2 variables, and strong—2 variables. Moderate and strong correlations were found for the following variables: the owner’s view of the forest’s economic importance (correlation coefficient: 0.862), income per hectare (0.840), the importance of forestry in the common activity of the owners (0.525), the percentage of mature stands (0.476), the diversity of activities in forest holdings (0.361), and how the wood is used (0.328). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Family Forests)
Article
Private Forest Owners’ Social Economic Profiles Weakly Influence Forest Management Conceptualizations
Forests 2019, 10(11), 956; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10110956 - 26 Oct 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1048
Abstract
Although several private forest owner studies have dealt with how private forest owners understand forest management, little is known about the determinants of specific forest management concepts. The study expands previous latent variable models of the perception of forest management by European private [...] Read more.
Although several private forest owner studies have dealt with how private forest owners understand forest management, little is known about the determinants of specific forest management concepts. The study expands previous latent variable models of the perception of forest management by European private forest owners by looking at how age, income, education, annual cut, and holding size and type influence specific understandings of forest management. We applied a multiple indicators multiple causes (MIMIC) structural equation model on a representative sample of 754 private forest owners from Slovenia. The MIMIC model confirmed the influence of six covariates on three concepts of forest management: the maintenance concept, the ecosystem-centered concept, and the economics-centered concept. The strongest determinants of perception were education and holding type. The maintenance concept was predominantly associated with less educated older full-time or part-time farmers working on smaller family farms and doing regular cuts. The perception of forest management as an economics-centered activity increased with increased education and dependence on income from intensive cuts. The ecosystem-centered concept was most strongly associated with younger, better-educated owners with smaller holdings and, surprisingly, not to non-farmers but to small-scale family farmers. However, the proportion of the variance of latent variables explained by the six covariates was low, ranging from 2.4% to 5.1%. Taking into account the influence of education and holding type on private forest owners’ perception of forest management, by increasing the level of education and raising the proportion of absentee owners in Europe, we expect a shift from the maintenance concept toward either an economics-centered or ecosystem-oriented concept for forest management. Despite the weak influence of private forest owners’ social economic profiles on forest management conceptualizations, governments should be aware of the trend and actively seek to prevent the polarization of forest management concepts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Family Forests)
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