New directions and the need for reform - these two catch phrases dominate the political discussions around forests, forestry, and forest research in many European countries. In Germany there is concern about the reduction of university positions in forestry, as there is across Europe about the new, more economically orientated direction of forest management. For example, in 2004 the Bavarian electorate defeated a referendum about the restructuring of the forest administration, largely because of concern about changes to nature conservation and recreation management. Obviously, the new trends in forest management imposed by commercial interests stand in stark contrast to the overall expectations society has of effective multi-functional forest management (Deutscher Rat für Landespflege 2004). The administrative desires for reform on the one side and - often contradictory - societal demands on the other are the reason to undertake an investigation of the European model of multi-functional forest management.