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Do trees make people more rooted? Private forest owners' migration behaviour

Kerstin Westin and Einar Holm

Forest Policy and Economics, 2018, vol. 94, issue C, 11-20

Abstract: Forestland is a tangible asset, likely both indicating and creating attachment to the forest site for the owners. Forest ownership can both create and maintain a strong motive for developing the forest holding and its surroundings. Decisions made by non-industrial private forest (NIPF) owners can therefore be expected to influence population development in the local communities. This paper addresses forest owners' migration propensity, and whether forest ownership influences migration to and from the municipality where the forest holding is located. Comparing the non-forest owners to the group of local NIPF owners, we found that the latter are more sedentary. Forest owners living in their forest municipalities seldom move out – about a third annually compared to others in the same age group. When moving, about half of absentee forest owners select their forest municipality as their destination and thus become local forest owners. Although private forest ownership significantly contributes to population development in small, remote rural municipalities, policies for local and rural development rarely acknowledge the potential private forest owners represent for economic and population development in rural areas.

Keywords: Private forest owners; Migration propensity; Population development; Rural development (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:eee:forpol:v:94:y:2018:i:c:p:11-20