Private Forest Ownership in Europe
More than half of Europe’s forests, not including Russia and other CIS countries, are owned privately. Private forest owners play a key role in sustaining forest ecosystems, enhancing rural development and supplying resources to markets. Nevertheless, a significant lack of knowledge on private forest ownership in Europe remains.
A joint enquiry carried out by the United Nations Economic commission for Europe, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE) and the Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF) was elaborated and conducted during 2006-2007, in an attempt to contribute to closing this knowledge gap. A questionnaire was addressed to 38 MCPFE member countries with records of private forestry.
23 countries have participated through submitting national reports, mostly for the year 2005: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. This study paper presents the main findings from the national country reports and draws conclusions on the state of private forestry in Europe in terms of ownership distribution, holding structure, socio-economic findings and trends, with regard to restitution/privatization, changes of ownership patterns and association of private forest owners.