In Europe the forest area of owners of small forests is underutilized. The consequences are (i) a shortage of resource for the bio-economy, (ii) uncertainty with respect to delivery of ecosystem services, and (iii) inconsistent monitoring and assessment of forest health.
As a consequence of structural change, societies develop towards urbanization and the area of unmanaged or insufficiently managed forests is increasing. From a forestry viewpoint the trend is problematic and many regional and national stakeholder groups are taking efforts to engage the owners of small forests in active management, assuming that forest management is the trigger for the provision of the aforementioned functions (i) to (iii). The obstacles are well known: managing small forests yields insignificant income, non-expert forest owners have unclear expectations on forest management and lack of knowledge on the required techniques.
The efforts of engaging owners of small forests are nationally and internationally only partially coordinated and only partially successful. Our intention is to identify the more and the less successful attempts, analyze the reasons for success or failure, and derive recommendations for regionally relevant campaigns for the engagement of small scale forest owners in forest management.