Small Woodland Owners' Group

Qt J Forestry: 'Why do people buy small woods?'

Discussions of articles posted on the SWOG site

Postby pete » Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:10 am

There's an interesting article in the Jan 2012 'Quarterly Journal of Forestry' entitled 'Why do people buy small woods and what do they do with them?'. The authors somehow located 200 new purchasers of small woodland, got them all to complete a questionnaire and then did in-depth interviews with 10 of them.

Maybe the results will come as no surprise to SWOG members but the authors thought they were "very surprising"!!! They reckon they've identified "a new species of woodland owner..... quite different to the passive tax-driven investors of the 60's, 70's and 80's. These new owners spend a lot of time visiting their woods, do not look for significant returns from timber sales, usually do most of the management themselves, learn on the job, and are motivated by wild-life interests". It does make you wonder what angle members of the Royal Forestry Society approach things from!

Here are some of their stats:

1.they estimate 5,000 small woodland owners in the UK

2. 98% have received advice or training, 66% receive advice from periodicals, a third have taken a course in woodland management

3.most owners visit with friends & family in tow, only 20% unaccompanied. 18% bring work colleagues

4. a third of owners live within 10 miles, but at the other end of the spectrum, 53% live more than 50 miles away

5. average income generated by owners is £345 whilst average outgoings are £397

6. 75% see fuel collection as important

7. 63% see their woods as a place to light campfires and stay overnight

8. 2% of owners never manage their woodland, 76% coppice, 42% fence, 28% of owners have made tool-sheds

9. of those surveyed, not a single owner expressed an intention to sell his/her woodland, most envisaging passing it to future generations.

The authors conclude: "much research has been done into woodlands, but very little into their owners. We have seen that new owners are now more likely to be hands-on managers, owning their woods for enjoyment, conservation and being committed for the long term. This suggests that govt incentives for timber production in these woods are unlikely to be successful whereas policies that make hands-on management easier are likely to be welcomed and taken up. Examples might include easier planning regulations for building tool-stores, clarity on when overnight stays are permissible and official recognition of the contribution that such owners make. In any event, active ownership of small woodlands is growing & thriving and is now a permanent feature of the UK forestry sector".


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Postby wrekin » Wed Jan 04, 2012 11:57 am

Is it an extension of this survey for ? - Woods, huts, cabins, sheds, forestry
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Postby pete » Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:34 am

Yes, I think the 'www.woodlands' survey must have been the basic research for the forestry article.

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