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Linkevicius, Edgaras, 2007. Policy drivers behind the forest utilisation in Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. SLU, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre, Alnarp. Alnarp: SLU, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre



This work is a part of international research that was carried out in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, in order to investigate policy drivers behind the harvesting level in these countries. This thesis was focused on Lithuania. However, a comparative analysis of future tendencies for possible harvesting levels in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland was done as well. First of all, it is necessary to point out the importance of a social system and social changes that are of great importance to forestry (Shanz 1999) and have a decisive impact on a harvesting level, especially when a society moves from socialist planning system to market economy. Further, the harvesting level is influenced by interests of stakeholders and their games of power in the decision making process. The interests of stakeholders are formed by ecological, economic and social factors (Krott 2005). These factors form the basis of stakeholders' knowledge that gives directions for further actions (Krott 2005).
The understanding of policy drivers for the harvesting level in Lithuania is not possible without the understanding of Lithuanian stakeholders' interests and their power in the national decision-making process. For defining policy drivers in Lithuania, methodological triangulation (Denscombe 1998), combining literature and inventory data analysis with questionnaire and expert interview methods, was used. The questionnaire and expert interview methods were based on a qualitative research approach and in total thirty-five top administrators of different stakeholders, five from each stakeholder group, were interviewed. However, the questionnaire was made of qualitative, open-ended questions as well as quantitative questions.
The analysis of ecological factors, such as gross annual increment, the total volume, the volume and area of mature woods, total forest area, distribution in the age classes showed, that at the end of the period 1988 – 2006, the harvesting level was higher as compared with the beginning of the same period. However, species composition did not become better, a fact, that can be illustrated by the loss of pine by 2% and increase of grey alder by 1%. Additionally, analysing forest ownership was found that forests, left for restitution, without a proper supervision, significantly decreased the harvesting level. Forest diseases, drought and beetle outbreak increased the harvesting level in 1992 – 1996, but it was done at the expense of losses in the future harvesting.
Literature analysis and the opinion of interviewed experts revealed, that market demand for wood is increasing. However, as the survey and literature analysis showed, the society and forest management traditions were more favourable to a lower harvesting level. According to the respondents, the Ministry of Environment and its Department of Forests, as well as Inventory bodies are the most powerful stakeholders today. Yet, the opinion of the respondents, concerning the power of the stakeholders after 10 years, was that the power of the Ministry of Environment and its Department of Forests as well as inventory bodies will decrease, while the power of wood industry and Non-Governmental Organizations (further NGOs) will increase. This shows that in the future the process of the approval of a harvesting level will be more corporative. In addition, the dominant part of the most important stakeholders in Lithuanian forestry would like the harvesting/increment ratio to increase from 41- 80% to 61 – 100%.
The main goal of the comparative part was to compare the possible future harvesting tendencies in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. In order to achieve this goal, it was necessary to address the following issues: 1. Ecological, social and economic factors, that create the interests of various groups of stakeholders, 2. Expected harvesting level in the future, 3. The changes of different groups of stakeholders' power in the future, 4. Relations between stakeholders. When completing the second part of the study, the same methodology as in the previous part was used. The results for Latvia and Poland were taken from the theses, written in those countries, and prepared by the colleagues of the work team. After carrying out the research, the following results were obtained.
According to the respondents from different countries, after 10 years power of the Ministry of Environment in Poland and Lithuania, and the Ministry of Agriculture in Latvia, as well as power of inventory bodies in all the three countries will decrease. However, power of wood industry will increase significantly in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. In addition, according to the respondents, NGOs will become more powerful as well. The analysis of the opinions on the future harvesting /increment ratio showed that the groups of stakeholders would like the harvesting level in all countries to increase from 41 - 80% to 61 – 100%. According to the respondents, economic factors, such as the need for bio fuel as a resource of renewable energy and raw material for wood industry, as well as the importance of wood industries to national economies, will contribute to the increase of the harvesting level. Yet, ecological and social factors, according to the opinion of the respondents, will have a contrary effect.
Referring to the results, presented above, the following conclusion can be made. In all countries, the harvesting level has a tendency to increase; however, in order to make more reliable predictions on the exact level of increase, some additional research is necessary. It is obvious, that the harvesting level will depend on the future development of ecological, economic and social factors as well as on power of different stakeholders.
According to the respondents, the most important future factors will be: the increase of the role of wood industry, mostly by lobbing through politicians, changes in private sector, development of usage of renewable resources, possibility to import wood, labour costs and larger range of non-productive forest functions will continuously generate higher expenditures of state forests. Keeping to the rule of self-sufficiency (in Lithuania and Poland) will require more harvesting in order to cover increasing costs. Ecological requirements should become softer and more rational, and decrease in number. Among the main biological factors, that determine a future harvesting level, the enlargement of total growing stock and distribution in age classes are listed.

To summarize, it is expected, that power of wood industry as well as power of protective organizations will increase in all countries in the future. However, according to the respondents, wood industry will be more powerful than NGOs.

Main title:Policy drivers behind the forest utilisation in Poland, Lithuania and Latvia
Authors:Linkevicius, Edgaras
Supervisor:Brukas, Vilis
Series:Final thesis / SLU, 5045
Volume/Sequential designation:89
Year of Publication:2007
Level and depth descriptor:Other
Student's programme affiliation:1140A Master of Science in Forestry, 300.0hp
Supervising department:(S) > Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre
Keywords:policy drivers, ecological factors, economic factors, social factors, interests of stakeholders, power of stakeholders, tendencies of future harvesting, qualitative research methods, comparative analysis
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Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:?? 5045 ??
Forestry - General aspects
Deposited On:09 Oct 2017 08:51
Metadata Last Modified:09 Oct 2017 08:51

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