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Hedwall, Per-Ola, 2004. Attitudes towards protection of biodiversity in forests : a case study of forest owners in Skåne, Sweden. SLU, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre, Alnarp. Alnarp: SLU, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre



The focus of nature protection through area protection in Swedish forests has for a long time been on boreal, subalpine and alpine areas. Large areas have of this reason been protected in northern Sweden, while the protection of forest in southern Sweden, and especially in the temperate zone, have been almost neglected. Only 2,5 per cent of the land area in the southernmost county in Sweden, the county of Skåne, has some kind of protection today and considerably less of the forest is protected. Some possible reasons for this distorted balance of share of protected forest between northern and southern Sweden are:

* The large share of state-owned forest in northern Sweden has facilitated the work with area protection.
* The large share of forest owned by non-industrial private forest owners in southern Sweden and the relatively small estates in southern Sweden has been a hindrance in the implementation of area protections.
* The long history of land use in southern Sweden has made it difficult to find areas with high nature values for protection, and these areas are very often scattered in the landscape.

The need of protection of biodiversity in the forests of southern Sweden is largely due to the long history of land use. Southern Sweden has much more threatened species than northern Sweden, not only due to the land use history, but also due to the generally higher number of species in the south.

The area of protected forest has however increased much in Skåne during recent years and many private forest owners have been involved in this process. The County Forestry Board of Södra Götaland has been the most active authority in the number of concerned estates and thereby influenced forest owners. The County Board of Skåne and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency have implemented some new nature reserves and national parks. These areas are usually of larger size but concern in relation to their size fewer estates and thereby there are less forest owners influenced. The encroachment of these forms of protection is however most often to be considered of larger magnitude than the habitat protection and nature conservation agreements that are implemented by the County Forestry Board. This is not only due to the larger size of the areas but also due to differences in the forms of agreements.

A large number of private forest owners have been influenced by the implementation of area protection of forest, and there is a lack of knowledge how the forest owners perceive these processes, even though some studies have been performed in the field. This study is a part of a joint Nordic project with the task "to study effects of various policy instruments and develop proposals concerning the development of policies within the field".

A questionnaire, consisting of a set of questions in common for the joint project with some adjustments for regional differences and completed with a set of questions specific for this study, was sent to 241 addressees in Skåne. The addressees were private forest owners or previous private forest owners who had been involved in a process with the objective of an area protection of forest in the form of one or more of the protection types below:

* National park
* Nature reserve
* Habitat protection
* Nature conservation agreement

The real response rate was 53 per cent and for another ten per cent the reason for absence of answers is known. The average age of the respondents was 58 years and 78 per cent were men. Most respondents had purchased their estate, often in combination with inheritance and gift. The respondents were rather independent of their income from the forestry on the estate. The average share of income from the forestry on the estate was 15 per cent while the median was much lower with five per cent. Still most of the respondents valued commercial wood the highest among the goods from their forest. Another important good was recreation. The change in share of income from the forestry on the estate after the area protection was implemented was small. The largest loss of income had the respondents with the 25 per cent highest shares of income from the forest. These respondents had on average ten per cent less of their income from the forestry on the estate after the area protection was implemented.

Most respondents associated the concept biodiversity with species and ecosystems and/or with conservation of nature. A majority had the opinion that the owner of the land also is owner of the biodiversity, while they did not consider this ownership to imply an economical responsibility of preserving it. Most respondents thought that the state should have the main economical responsibility of the protection of forest. Many were satisfied with how large share of the forest that was protected in the Swedish private forest, and many more wanted the area of protected forest to increase than wanted it to decrease. However, they were not willing to protect forest without compensation.

The type of compensation that was preferred by most respondents was a yearly compensation, only 31 per cent wanted a once-and-for-all payment. The once-and-for-all payment is the today most common way of compensating the landowners for the encroachment of an area protection and 82 per cent of the respondents for whom the protection process was completed had also gotten this kind of compensation. Many also wanted new land in exchange, which was only realised in one case, and is maybe often less feasible due to small size of the area. The respondents preferred agreements with the authorities were they remained owner of the land and the rights following it. Also this is in contrast to what is most common, the authorities usually buy the land or the right to use the land. They also wanted to be involved in the management of the protected areas, the only form of agreement that today involves the landowner in the management is the nature conservation agreements.

The respondents that had been involved in the protection process to a large extent were in general more satisfied with it. Among the respondents that had been involved to a very or rather large extent there were 86 and 72 per cent, respectively, satisfied with the process, while the corresponding figure among the ones that had been involved to a very small extent was 8 per cent. The County Forestry Board had succeeded better than the County Board and the Environmental Protection Agency in involving the forest owner into the process. Thereby there were also more of the respondents satisfied with the process among the ones that had their main contact with the County Forestry Board. An underlying cause of this can be that the County Forestry Board's work usually concerns smaller areas, but it can also be so due to that the County Forestry Board has a long tradition and experience of contact with and education of forest owners.

A majority of the respondents did not consider the compensation they had received to cover the economic losses of forest production due to the protection. Many of the respondents who considered themselves to be self-active in their forestry, did not consider the compensation to cover the loss of employment. Just a few of the respondents had made some changes in the management of the remaining part of their forest due to the implementation of the area protection. Neither changes positive to biodiversity nor changes negative to biodiversity were made at any considerable extent.

The addressees were given 17 statements to which they were going to respond, to what extent they agreed with the statements. The statements concerned protection of biodiversity in general, protection of biodiversity in forest, and protection of biodiversity in the respondent's forest. There was no significant difference in attitude of the respondents due to which of the categories the statement belonged. The respondents were positive to nature protection, independent of what level it concerned. But it has to be mentioned that the statements concerning protection of biodiversity on the respondents own estate included the condition that the respondent was fully compensated for the encroachment. However, when the answers were analysed in relation to different characteristics of the respondents there were some differences found. Which sex the respondent belonged to was of importance for the level of agreement when the statement concerned protection of biodiversity in general. Women were more positive towards protection of biodiversity in general than men. No difference of this kind was found when the statement concerned protection of biodiversity on the estate of the respondent.

The characteristics most important for how the forest owner responded to the statements concerning protection of biodiversity on his or her estate were:

* General education
* Membership of an environmental organisation
* Size of forest
* Income from the forestry on the estate
* Share of own work on the estate
* Felling per hectare

Some characteristics were correlated with the size of the forest. Sex, income from the forestry on the estate and share of own work on the estate showed a correlation with the size of forest. The most important characteristics for the respondents' attitudes towards protection of biodiversity were characteristics closely connected with the intensity of the management of the forest on the estate. Many of these characteristics were also correlated with the size of the forest.


Tyngdpunkten i det svenska naturskyddet har länge legat i de boreala, subalpina och alpina delarna av Sverige. Stora områden har därmed skyddats i norra Sverige, medan skyddet av skog i södra Sverige till stor del har förbisetts. Bara 2,5 procent av landarealen och en betydligt mindre del av skogen i Skåne är idag skyddad. Några anledningar till snedvridningen av skyddad skog mellan södra och norra Sverige är:
- Den stora andelen av statligt ägd skog i norra Sverige har underlättat processen med naturskydd där.
- Den stora andelen skog som ägs av privata enskilda skogsägare och den relativt stora ägosplittringen i södra Sverige har varit ett hinder i reservatsbildning och naturskyddsarbetet.
- Markanvändningen i södra Sverige har pågått under längre tid än i de norra delarna av landet. Detta har försvårat arbetet med att finna områden lämpliga för reservatsbildning.

Ett frågeformulär skickades till 241 adressater i Skåne. Adressaterna var enskilda privata skogsägare som hade varit berörda av en process med målsättningen att en eller flera av nedanstående skyddsformer skulle införas på deras mark. Frågeformuläret bestod av en bas av frågor som var gemensamma för det Nordiska projektet. Dessa anpassades dock till regionala förhållanden och kompletterades med ytterligare ett antal frågor av relevans för denna studie. De skyddsformer som var aktuella var:
- Nationalpark
- Naturreservat
- Biotopskydd
- Naturvårdsavtal

Main title:Attitudes towards protection of biodiversity in forests
Subtitle:a case study of forest owners in Skåne, Sweden
Authors:Hedwall, Per-Ola
Supervisor:Mattsson, Leif
Series:Examensarbete / SLU, Institutionen för sydsvensk skogsvetenskap
Volume/Sequential designation:59
Year of Publication:2004
Level and depth descriptor:Other
Student's programme affiliation:Other
Supervising department:(S) > Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre
Keywords:private forest owners, attitudes, nature protection, biodiversity
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:?? 5045 ??
Forest injuries and protection
Deposited On:05 Oct 2017 10:19
Metadata Last Modified:05 Oct 2017 10:19

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