From common to private ownership – Forest tenure development in Sweden 1500–2010

Landscape transformation and restoration

To learn from failures as well as successes is crucial if programmes for landscape transformation and restoration are to succeed. The Nordic model, with stable institutions, markets and clear rules for the actors based on a democratic system, creates a stable ground for the development of a successful tenure system.

Material previously unavailable

This report describes the tenure development in Sweden during the last 500 years, using mainly Swedish-language material previously unavailable to an international readership. The aim is to identify different actors and stages of the development, using possession rights and non-exclusive user rights as a point of departure.

Lessons learned from a dramatic transition

It is clear that private ownership of forest is a contributing factor to the success of the Nordic forestry model. A closer look reveals a partly dramatic transition from the tenure forms of traditional society into present-day forms – and today the ownership model is again contested. Once secure in their tenure, the peasants started exploiting the now valuable timber resource, and later, more reluctantly, began to employ modern management methods in spite of the extremely long investment horizon in northern silviculture.

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