Reaching forest owners through their social networks in timber sales

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Abstract:

This study maps forest owners’ communication relationships in timber sales in Finland. The study applies the concept of structural equivalence from social network analysis. The aim is to recognise the existing communication channels that forest owners have during their timber sales to be better able to reach different forest owners. The egocentric data were collected from Finnish forest owners via a mail questionnaire (n=1244, response rate 59.7%). After a multiple imputation of incomplete network data, 753 respondents were included in the analysis. The most typical network structures were identified through a TwoStep Cluster Analysis, yielding non-committed Forest Management Association (FMA)-members (34%), independent timber traders (27%), relationship builders (24%) and FMA-partners (15%). The FMA-partners have an exclusive connection with the FMA, whereas the connections of independent timber traders are directed towards the timber buyer. It is essential for both the FMAs and timber buying companies to maintain and develop these existing relationships with their committed customers. Relationship builders differ from the others by having the largest networks with both forestry professionals and peer forest owners. The results suggest that these active forest owners could be channels to reach passive forest owners.

Keywords: Egocentric networks; TwoStep Cluster Analysis; family forest owners; structural equivalence; timber sales

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02827581.2011.631935

Affiliations: 1: School of Forest Sciences,University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland 2: Finnish Forest Research Institute, Joensuu, Finland

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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