Slovenia has 489,000 private forest owners which represents a challenge for a nation of only two million. 89 % of private owners own five or less hectares of forest or about 40 % of the entire forested area. Small size of forest properties is related with low interest for silvicultural works. In this research I examined the role of socio-geographic factors in managing private small-scale forest properies in Slovenia.
Despite numerous scholarly research focused on private forest owners in Slovenia, no one has ever systematically investigated the group of small-scale forest owners. I used a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. The conducted quantitative analysis was based on “forest owner registry” database, mixed-mode (online and paper) questionnaire and weights assigned by stakeholders to factors. Further qualitative analyses were performed on transcriptions of in-depth semi-structured interviews and focus groups. In addition to owners, stakeholders with experiences or institutional influence in private forest management were also included in the qualitative analysis. With descriptive statistics and statistical tests, I examined socio-geographic characteristics of owners. By using k-means clustering, I defined the number and characteristics of owner types. By using Glaser’s (1998) and Charmaz's (2006) variation of grounded theory, I performed analysis on qualitative data. I found that private small-scale owners are relatively heterogeneous group of people and are similar to general population of Slovenia. In comparison with other private forest owners in Slovenia, private small-scale owners are relatively more educated. There are fewer active farmers in this group, more women, they reside further from their properties in urban areas of Slovenia and are generally less engaged in forest management. To private small-scale forest owners, forest represents insignificant source of personal income. The analysis resulted in two forest owner types, ie. “engaged” and “detached”. “Engaged” owners expressed heterogeneous management objective, including management for wood production, aesthetic enjoyment, creating a place of peace and meditation, and maintaining healthy and diverse forest ecosystem. “Detached” owners are not prepared to achieve any kind of management objective in the future, but especially not production-related. “Engaged” owners assigned a higher value on production function. Environmental and social function were valued higher by the members of “detached” owners. “Detached” owners are relatively more educated, and with higher income. There are more women in this owner type and they are less affiliated with agriculture. The study results can be useful for public forestry service and forest advisory service since working with owners demands knowledge of their sociogeographic characteristics. Results can also be useful for lawmakers since this book features concrete guidelines for policy changes which would result in sustainable small-scale forest management. Finally, the results are useful for all citizens of Slovenia to learn about themselves, because many of us will become owners or already are.
hardback 14 × 20,5 cm 124 pages
05. 12. 2019