Private forest owners possess a major part of Europe's forests. Therefore, their behaviour plays a significant role in the development and management of European forest resources. At the same time, forest owners' values and objectives are becoming more versatile. There is a need for further understanding of elements affecting forest owners' management behaviour. One aspect of potential impact is how forest ownership is perceived by the forest owners themselves. Understanding how they experience the ownership, especially on the psychological level, can provide new insights into forest owners' management behaviour and aid in planning better services to meet their needs.
This paper aims to describe the new NIPF owners' perceptions of forest ownership by qualitative analyses drawn from 23 in-depth interviews covering different contextual settings in Europe. The theory of psychological ownership is used as a theoretical background. The aim is to examine, how psychological ownership is expressed and the ownership feelings are manifested in different forest owning contexts. The results illustrate what kind of ownership values new forest owners set for their forests and discuss how these affect their forest management behavior. At the same time the paper illustrate the potential of the social science approach in forest ownership research.
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