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New woodlands in Denmark: The role of private landowners

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Voluntary schemes that offer payments to farmers who agree to desist from certain damaging operations or carrying out environmentally sensitive activities have become an integral part of current European agricultural policy. These schemes tend to operate from the presumption of an economically rational behaviour of the landowner obtaining the grant. Analysis of landowners using the Danish subsidy scheme for field afforestation (EU regulation 2080/92) has shown that there is a need to reconsider the perception of the implementation process of the scheme on the individual farm as based only on economic rationality. By using two continua (production-nature orientation and attachment to agriculture), five different types of landowners are identified: agricultural producers, non-agricultural producers, soft farmers, countryside residents, and amenity residents. By using the typology, it is found that when nature orientation is of increasing importance, planting independently of the subsidy gradually tends to become more likely. This means that not all applicants for the afforestation scheme fit into the pattern of economically rational actors. Instead, the applicants' activities reflect a wide range of practices and values concerning afforestation which we need to acknowledge if we are to fully achieve agri-environmental policies.

Keywords: Denmark; afforestation; agri-environmental policies; land use planning; landowner values; spatial location

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: Skov & Landskab, Danish Forest and Landscape Research Institute, Hørsholm, Denmark

Publication date: 2003-03-01

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