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Collective ownership can save the forest

Published: 29 December 2014

South Korea, Bhutan and the Philippines are interested in a over hundred years old Swedish model of collective ownership and management of forests.

Professor Lars Carlsson, Luleå University was recently in South Korea and presented his research showing the environmental, personal and socio-economic gains with a collective ownership model.

Forests that is owned and managed collectively by a village, and where private ownership is mixed with collective ownership, turns out to have great benefits and is a win-win situation both for private forest owners, local communities and the state. A fundamental principle is that the revenue from the collectively-owned forest should be reinvested in the community, for example through contributions to various community building efforts.

- Whit shared responsibility for the forest the interest  in sustainable forest management increase, says Lars Carlsson. At the same time there is a possibility to optimize the profits of the forest owned privately. This is a combination that proved to work for a long time. Since the Swedish system is well maintained and has a long tradition, other parts of the world are interested in sharing our experiences.

Advantage in countries with high deforestation

Unit holder system, or Community Based Forest Management, whichthe  method is known as in the scientific community, is highly interesting for countries with high deforestation. At the conference in South Korea attended several countries that have serious problems with reckless felling of large forest areas.

Globally, there are approximately 513 million hectares of collectively managed forests.The amount of carbon stored in these forests is 29 times greater than the annual carbon emissions from all passenger vehicles. The purely environmental benefits of sustainable management of these forest areas are obvious. To these may be added the positive impact collective ownership has for ethnic groups to preserve their lifestyle and for people who depend on forests for their livelihood.

Contact professor Lars Carlsson: