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Forest certification and Green forestry plans today and in the future : a questionnaire about private forest owners at Södra Skogsägarna and their attitude towards forest certification and Green forestry plans

Authors
Publisher
SLU/Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre
Publication Date
Keywords
  • Certifiering
  • Gröna Skogsbruksplaner
  • Privata Skogsägare
  • SÖdra
  • Pefc
Disciplines
  • Communication
  • Ecology
  • Economics
  • Geography

Abstract

Södra is a co-operative of private forest owner organisation which is owned by 35 000 private forest owers in southern Sweden. Forest owners in Sweden can choose to certify their Forestry. Södra uses PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes) as their certification scheme for their members. Those who choose to certify their forest are obligated to follow the demands for forestry which PEFC requires. A “Green” forestry plan is another important tool in the ambition to reach a sustainable forestry. The “Green” plan works as a practical tool and helps the forest owner to equally give priority to environmental concerns as to production concerns. PEFC on the other hand works as a receipt on that it is actually done. The main purpose of this study is to evaluate PEFC and the “Green” forestry plans potential (area, number of members) among Södra forest owners. It was also to get a good picture of what their opinions about PEFC and the Green plans. Both already certified and not certified forest owners are therefore included in the study. The final aim is to find the future tools that may increase the interest both for PEFC and the “Green” plans in order to increase the certification. The study was conducted as a mail survey which was sent to 500 of Södra members. Half of the sample consisted of forest owners already certified and half of those who were not. The results from the questionnaire showed that certified forest owners to a high extent are pleased with the outcome of PEFC. On the other hand many of the forest owners do not think that certification leads to any changes in their forestry. Many forest owners think the Green plan has led to changes in their forestry. The main reasons for forest owners to certify their forestry were related to environmental interest and economical initiatives. Many forest owners also claimed that Södras guidance and information was crusial for their decision. The results show that only half of the not certified sample knows about PEFC. The attitude towards certification was less positive among the not certified forest owners (who know about certification) as compared to certified forest owners. The same conclusion is valid for the “Green” plans. Both certified and not certified forest owners stated that more guidance and information was important in order to increase the interest for PEFC. Södra play a significant role in the forest owners decision process and has threw the years driven the certification process. The fact that almost 80 percent of the forest owners indicate that their decision to get certified was affected by Södra underlines the importance of future efforts to push the certification process forward. In order to continue the process of green forestry plans it’s important to create both functional and emotional values around the product and to be able to communicate this to the forest owner. The Green forestry plan must be understood as helpful tool and not as a substitute for the forest owners’ knowledge.

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