Anna Frerck
Institute of International Forestry and Forest Economics

Leuschnerstraße 91
21031 Hamburg-Bergedorf
Phone: +49 40 739 62 301
Fax: +49 40 739 62 399

KKEG: Small forests, big impact


 (c) Philine Feil

Link to the Website - Waldbefragung (German)

Joint research project: Climate protection in small private forests – for owners and society (KKEG)

Subproject 2: Developing offers for small private forests

Society makes diverse demands on the German forests: Traditionally she wants to use timber, but recently also the protection of climate and biodiversity is a focus. To fulfil these demands, the small private forest has a great importance: Nearly half of the forest area of Germany is private-owned and half of this area again is smaller than 20 hectares. That makes 24 % of the total area of forests.

Nowadays, the forest owners are characterized by a high plurality of circumstances and goals for their forest management. The traditional rural management with a focus on timber production has decreased in small private forests, but the actual offers for promotion and assistance are still aimed at this traditional forest management. These offers are not able to reach the majority of forest owners anymore – this is shown by actual research studies. At the same time, these studies recommend the development of new and broader offers to win the owners of small forests for the goals biodiversity and climate protection.

Background and Objective

There is already a number of studies about attitudes of forest owners in Germany towards their forest holdings and various ecosystem services. But until now there is no systematic national research study about their forest management goals. However, this knowledge is essential for the development of new offers to improve timber production, climate change mitigation and nature protection in small private forests.

Also the efficiency of the used budget funds will increase, if the offers are more orientated on the goals of the forest owners. Therefore, our research project aims on the identification and analyzation of the goals of the forest owners as well as the goals of society. In the next step, we will be able to recommend more efficient instruments in political promotion in terms of sustainable timber production, climate change mitigation and nature protection.

Target Group

Target group: Owners of small private forests; decision makers in politics, administration and economy


The KKEG-Project wants to develop offers for the small private forest to provide timber, to mitigate climate change and to protect nature. In this process, the goals of the forest owners are considered in equal measure as the goals of society. We will consider the two main elements of an offer: measure and instrument. The objective is to recommend instruments to implement these arrangements more efficient than until now.

We are developing the offers for owners of small forests in two steps: First we identify and analyse the goals of the forest owners as well as the goals of society in terms of timber production, climate protection and nature protection. Afterwards we concretize the benefits of forests which are of special public interest.

In step two, we compare the goals of forest owners with the goals of society in order to develop concrete offers for small private forests. Finally, we develop recommendations for the implementation of these offers.

The results of our sub-project will provide close-to-praxis recommendations for new offers in the assistance of small forest owners. Extent and success of the project are depending on how many federal states or private providers will implement the measurements that we worked out for small private forests. However, follow-up projects to conduct or support the implementation in pilot-regions or pilot federal states with the help of administration, public-private-partnerships or private providers would increase the chances of success or rather demonstrate the practicability of the project’s recommendations.

Data and Methods

The centre of our methodical approach is a nationwide representative survey to interview the population as well as owners of small forests. The survey will be carried out in two steps: In step one, we will identify the owners. In step two, we will interview them about their circumstances and goals in terms of forest management. Besides the survey, our data base is official statistics, the Federal Forest Inventory and complementary enquiries. For the enquiries, we use the broad range of methods of the empirical social research, depending on the problem. For the analyzation of the data we use qualitative and quantitative instruments, e.g. strength- weakness- opportunities- threats- analysis or econometric models.

Our Research Questions

How can owners of small private forests be mobilized efficiently for the forest ecosystem services timber production, climate change mitigation and nature conservation?



3.2015 - 6.2019

More Information

Projekt type:
Project status: ongoing