Research article

Governance of private forests in Eastern and Central Europe: An analysis of forest harvesting and management rights

Laura Bouriaud , Liviu Nichiforel, Gerhard Weiss, Agron Bajraktari, Milic Curovic, Zuzana Dobsinska, Predrag Glavonjic, Vilém Jarský, Zuzana Sarvasova, Meelis Teder, Zinta Zalite

Laura Bouriaud
University Ştefan cel Mare Suceava and EFICEEC (EFI Central-East and South-East European Regional Offi ce), Universitatii, nr. 13, 720229, Suceava, Romania. Email: bouriaud@usv.ro
Liviu Nichiforel
University Ştefan cel Mare Suceava and EFICEEC (EFI Central-East and South-East European Regional Offi ce), Universitatii, nr. 13, 720229, Suceava, Romania
Gerhard Weiss
European Forest Institute Central-East European Regional Offi ce, c/o Institute of Forest, Environmental and Natural Resource Policy, Department of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU), Feistmantelstraße 4, A-1180 Vienna, Austria
Agron Bajraktari
University of Prishtina, Faculty of Technical Applied Sciences, Besim Rexhepi, 70000 Ferizaj, Republic of Kosovo
Milic Curovic
Biotechnical Faculty of the University of Montenegro, Mihaila Lalica 1, 81000 Podgorica, Montenegro
Zuzana Dobsinska
Department of Economics and Management of Forestry, Technical University of Zvolen
Predrag Glavonjic
University of Belgrade, Faculty of Forestry, Kneza Višeslava 1, Belgrade, Serbia;
Vilém Jarský
Czech University of Life Science, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences. Prague, Kamycka 1176, 165. 21 Prague – Suchdol
Zuzana Sarvasova
Department of Forest Policy and Economics, National Forest Centre - Forest Research Institute Zvolen, T.G. Masaryka 22. 960 92 Zvolen, Slovakia
Meelis Teder
Department of Forest Management, Institute of Forestry and Rural Engineering, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Kreutzwaldi 5, 51014 Tartu, Estonia
Zinta Zalite
Latvia State Forest Research Institute “Silava”, Riga str. 111, Salaspils, LV-2169, Latvia

Online First: April 08, 2013
Bouriaud, L., Nichiforel, L., Weiss, G., Bajraktari, A., Curovic, M., Dobsinska, Z., Glavonjic, P., Jarský, V., Sarvasova, Z., Teder, M., Zalite, Z. 2013. Governance of private forests in Eastern and Central Europe: An analysis of forest harvesting and management rights. Annals of Forest Research 56(1): 199-215.


A property rights-based approach is proposed in the paper to underline the common characteristics of the forest property rights specification in ten ECE countries, the specific patterns governing the harvesting of timber in private forestry and the role of the forest management planning in determining the content of the property rights. The analysis deals with the private forests of the individuals (non industrial ownership) from ten countries, covering 7.3 million ha and producing yearly some 25 million m3 timber. The study shows that the forest management rights in private forests belong to the State and that the withdrawal rights on timber, yet recognised in the forest management plans, are in reality strongly restricted from an economic viewpoint. The forest management planning is the key instrument of the current forest governance system, based on top-down, hierarchically imposed and enforced set of compulsory rules on timber harvesting. With few exceptions, the forest owners have little influence in the forest planning and harvesting. The rational and State-lead approach of the private forest management has serious implications not only on the economic content of the property rights, but also on the learning and adaptive capacity of private forestry to cope with current challenges such the climate change, the increased industry needs for wood as raw material, or the marketing of innovative non wood forest products and services. The study highlights that understanding and comparing the regime of the forest ownership require a special analysis of the economic rights attached to each forest attribute; and that the evolution towards more participatory decision-making in the local forest governance can not be accurately assessed in ECE region without a proper understanding of the forest management planning process. 

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