Small forest owners manage about 60% of the European forest area and provide a large share of wood based raw materials for bio-based industries and manifold ecosystem services. With ongoing societal change across Europe, the values, beliefs and perception of these owners undergo significant changes with severe implication for forest management and timber provision. Moreover, across Europe, strong differences exist in the composition and size of small forests as well as legal frameworks and incentive schemes.
The objective of ValoFor is to understand the contribution of small forest owners in the transition to a wood based bioeconomy by considering the perception and management strategies of small forest owners. This includes analysing and comparing forest management strategies with respect to potential timber supply, ecosystem services and forest resilience in climate change.
ValoFor analysis includes:
1) the identification of tipping points in management behavior of small forest owners in relation to potential economic and socioeconomic descriptors using a survey and choice experiment,
2) the modeling of timber supply and the provision of ecosystem services under 3 management strategies using inventory-based growth simulations, and
3) a quantitative analysis of trade-offs between timber production, different ecosystem services and forest resilience towards climate change.
A thorough economic analysis will transfer timber outputs into economic projections for typical small forest enterprises considering European and national timber markets and framework conditions.
This concept will allow new insights into the coupled human and natural system of managed forests and to quantify truly achievable contributions of small forest owners to the challenges of a bio-based economy.
Moreover, it will allow to identify constraints for the engagement of small forest owners and provide tools for involving them into active management.