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Comparison of harvesting and business activities of non-shareholders and shareholders in a forest common in Västerbotten, Sweden

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Swedish forest commons are collectively owned and managed by shareholders who always also own other forest holdings. The majority of them are non-industrial private forest (NIPF) owners. The objective of this study was to assess differences, with respect to harvesting intensity and related business activities on their individually managed forest properties, between non-shareholders and shareholders in a Swedish forest common. Forest commons are intended to promote local agriculture and forestry and to serve as a model for forestry activities. On this basis, the hypotheses examined in this study were that the shareholders' harvesting and business activities, as well as their contributions to the local economy, are greater than those of non-shareholders. An apparent difference between shareholders and non-shareholders was found, but it was unexpected since non-shareholders undertook more harvesting and business activities than shareholders, and contributed more to the local economy through taxes. Since no evidence was found for a significant difference between the two categories in their potential to undertake forestry activities, one provisional conclusion is that the outcome is partly due to differences between the institutional frameworks in which shareholders and non-shareholders operate and the impact of these frameworks on incentives to maximize forest production.
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Keywords: Common; Swedish forestry; community-managed forest; forest ownership; forest resources management

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Forest Resource Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå, Sweden

Publication date: 2007-01-01

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