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In the last few years, the European countries have created a whole arsenal of regulatory, financial and informational instruments with the objective of enhancing sustainable forest management (SFM). In the course of this policy development effort, so far, the targets of governance have been more or less neglected. This article argues that a forest manager's values have a major influence on the perception of and the reaction to different types of public policy instruments. The results of a mail survey carried out among Austrian forestry professionals show that the persons in charge of putting SFM into practical action can be characterized by specific value patterns. By means of cluster analysis, forestry professionals were classified into six value types. Each of the six types identified is expected to respond to policy instruments in a specific way. Based on these findings, I finally discuss if and how policy instruments can be designed and implemented in a more target-group oriented way.