, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 1-20
Date: 23 Aug 2009

Private Ownership and Public Good Provision in English Woodlands

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There is increasing emphasis on multipurpose forestry within UK national and regional forest strategies, with the aim of co-delivering the social, environmental and economic benefits of woodlands. Private woodland ownership is also changing, with an increase in owners without a farming or forestry background. However, there is little substantive evidence relating to the motivations of private woodland owners and, in particular, their ability and willingness to deliver public goods. A qualitative study is adopted, using semi-structured interviews in three areas in England, to address this theoretical gap. Exploratory findings indicate that private woodland owners have a diverse range of objectives, motivations and management regimes which influence the potential for public good delivery. It is shown that some private woodland owners, such as those less motivated by economic return, may be better placed than others to deliver certain public goods; that conflicts can arise between the provision of recreation and nature conservation, especially in smaller woodlands; and that many private woodland owners are sceptical about becoming involved in grant schemes which may help foster public good provision in the private sector.