Small-scale Forestry

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 393–410 | Cite as

Characterizing Small Private Forests and Forest Owners’ Motivations and Attitudes in Trentino (Eastern Alps, Italy)

  • Maria RizzoEmail author
  • Patrizia Gasparini
  • Sergio Tonolli
  • Roberto Zoanetti
  • Dino Buffoni
  • Francesco Dellagiacoma
Original Research


Private forests represent approximately 60% of forest land in the European Union, but the knowledge on the number of private forest holdings and their size, both at the European and sub-national or local level, is significantly lacking and unharmonized. It is commonly known, however, that private forests are characterized by a high and small size of forest holdings. The parcelization of private forests may hinder the active and ecologically sustainable forest management. Characterizing small private forests is an important issue, since small forest holdings represent an important part of the forest sector in Europe. The aims of the present study were to describe the structure of small private forest ownerships of a study area in the Alps (Trentino province, Italy), and to investigate their attitudes and motivations. First, a detailed map of private forest parcels in the study area was produced to assess their extent and number, as well as the number of private owners. The distribution of small private forests in the study area by classes of elevation and slope were also investigated. The results confirmed that private forests are extremely fragmented and that the small or very small forests (0.1–5 ha) represent almost 90% of the total private forest area. Secondly, a questionnaire was developed and an explorative survey conducted on a sample of small forest owners in the study area to analyze their perceptions of the importance of forest production and services and their forest management attitudes.


Private forest owners Small-scale forestry Family forestry Parcelization Forest management attitudes Forest owners’ motivations Italian Alps 



The authors are grateful to Prof. Carlo Buzzi and Prof. Francesca Sartori of the University of Trento for their suggestions on the design of the questionnaire. They are also grateful to the forest wardens of Ala, Capriana and Roncone who conducted the interviews.


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Copyright information

© Steve Harrison, John Herbohn 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l’analisi dell’economia agraria Centro di ricerca Foreste e Legno (CREA-FL)TrentoItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento Territorio, Agricoltura, Ambiente e ForesteProvincia Autonoma di TrentoTrentoItaly
  3. 3.Servizio CatastoProvincia Autonoma di TrentoTrentoItaly

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