Who owns our forests? Forest ownership in the ECE region

The publication provides data on the nature and changing patterns of forest ownership, the way governance and social structures influence forest owners and managers in 35 countries.

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A new study “Who owns our forests? Forest ownership in the ECE region” issued by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) examines the nature and changing patterns of forest ownership in Europe. Based on data from 35 countries, and the first to include all categories of forest ownership, the study focuses on the ways in which governance and social structures influence forest owners and users, and forest management.

Forest ownership patterns in the ECE region are highly diversified and dynamic: political and economic factors, such as restitution, privatisation and land and timber markets, underlie change. Information on forest ownership remains relatively poorly documented and is often not linked to analysis of forest condition, management and outcomes. This study is the first to include private and public forest owners and to assess how and why forest ownership is changing and how governance and social structures affect forest owners and management.

The report represents the outcome of a partnership between the UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section and the European Cooperation Action on Science and Technology FP1201 on “Changes in forest land ownership in Europe: significance for management and policy” (COST Action FACESMAP). The publication summarises the UNECE/FACESMAP study and provides an overview of 35 UNECE countries, supported by more detailed information from the 28 European countries that participated in FACESMAP. It is based on the information provided by the survey responses and country reports and is supported by generally available data.

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The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Their goal is to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. With over 194 member states, FAO works in over 130 countries worldwide.