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Research Call

DAFM Reference


DAFM Award

DAFM National Call 2015 15/C/684 UCD (Teagasc) €198,364

Project Title:

Irish private forest owners: The role of knowledge transfer and social networks

Project Coordinator:

Dr. Aine Ni Dhubhain

Project Abstract

Private forest ownership will account for an increasing proportion of the forest estate in Ireland. Thus private forests will play an increasing role in delivering ecosystem services, not least timber production. Reflecting this, forecasted timber supply from private forests is expected to double in the next 20 years. For this forecasted supply to be realised private forest owners must become mobilised and ensure that their forests are managed, and in particular thinned. However, many forest owners have yet to become engaged in forest management and with other forestry stakeholders. This study aims to understand the factors that influence forest owners’ engagement specifically focussing on the role of knowledge transfer events and the social networks of owners. It will also explore broader issues relating to owner engagement including the values owners assign to their forests, and engagement with the value chain. It will do so using a number of approaches guided primarily by a purposive sampling framework. Semi-structured interviews will be conducted with forest owners to obtain a general understanding of their engagement in management, the value they place on their ownership and what influences their forestry-decision-making. To address the role of advisory services in supporting forest management decision-making, the learning that occurs at knowledge transfer events (e.g. thinning demonstrations) will be assessed to ascertain the capacity building that occurs at the events. Gaps between forest owners’ intentions to act in a particular way (e.g. thin their forests) and their actual actions in relation to those intentions will be explored in a longitudinal study. The social networks of forest owners will be identified to determine the role these play in owner engagement. The results of this study will lead to the development of better targeted advisory and policy initiatives to assist Irish forest owners manage their forests sustainably.

Final Report:

Not available yet.