Thursday, 17 May 2018

Do female forest owners think and act “greener”?

Forest Policy and Economics Available online 19 December 2017 In Press, Corrected ProofWhat are Corrected Proof articles? Forest Policy and Economics PatrikUmaerusaMariaHögvall NordinbGunLidestava a Department of Forest Resource Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-901 83, Umeå, Sweden b Swedish Forest Agency, Box 284, SE-901, Umeå, Sweden Author links open overlay panelPatrikUmaerusaMariaHögvall NordinbGunLidestava Get rights and content Highlights • Female and male forest owners are equally interested in timber production but women are more interested in ecological values. • Female forest owners see business opportunities in less traditional forest activities to a higher extent than male owners. • Results indicate that women’s management to a greater extent combine production values with other, non-traditional values. Abstract Ecofeminist notions and recent empirical studies of women forest owners attitudes and behaviour suggest that they are more environmental concerned and a less profit-oriented than man forest owners. In the present study on Swedish forest owners, we examine whether expressed values and attitudes are reflected in actual behaviour with regards to the use of the resource and goods that the forest property represents. Two sets of survey data were used to explore attitudes, forestry activities and business activities connected with the forest land. The results indicate that there are differences between female and male forest owners´ silvicultural activities as well as between their inclination of deriving either industrial roundwood or other forest-related values. While both female and male forest owners were almost equally interested in timber production, the female owners were to a higher extent than male owners also interested in ecological, recreational or social values. The female owners were also more inclined to see business opportunities in less traditional forest activities in fields as tourism and health/rehabilitation. The results indicate that management of forest properties owned by women to a greater extent than properties owned by men is based on a combination of traditional production values and other non-traditional values. Keywords Ecofeminism Forest management Gender Private forest owners Sweden 1. Introduction Are women closer to nature than men, and if so, what implications does this have on women's control and management of forest land? This question has been raised over the years within the framework of ecofeminist studies (e.g. Merchant, 1980, 1990; Shiva, 1989; Mies and Shiva, 1993). Ecofeminist analyses have typically focused on the connection between gender, class, race, and nature and on sustainable development in developing countries (Isla, 2005; Kameri-Mbote, 2007). The term ecofeminism was coined in 1974 by Francois d'Eaubonne (Kronlid, 2003) and started with the core assumption that there is a considerable common ground between environmentalism and feminism (Warren, 1997). It was not until the 1980s, though, that ecofeminism moved into academic research (Twine, 2001) where theoretical analyses can be found in several different fields, such as history, theology, sociology and economics (Kronlid, 2003). At the core of ecofeminist analysis lies the assumption that the oppression of women and the exploitation of nature are linked (Warren, 1997; Kronlid, 2003), but women's role in and interaction with nature differs between cultural and social ecofeminism as does the character of the oppression (Plumwood, 1992). In cultural ecofeminism women's role in the interaction with nature is “naturalized” and so maintained because of historical constructs that place men in a dominant position over both women and the environment (Twine, 2001). Within the discipline, essentialists go even further, stating that women as givers of life have a closer relationship with nature and thus are entitled to speak on its behalf (Sturgeon, 1997). Social ecofeminism, in contrast, historicises the connection between women and nature (Plumwood, 1992). Women's position in society is seen as derived from prevailing social and economic structures and since these structures also produce environmental damage, women can “share” the experience of being exploited and therefore are better placed than men to argue on nature's behalf. One of the basic assumptions in ecofeminism is that male ownership of land has led to a dominator culture where land is valued only as an economic resource which leads to exploitation of both nature and humans, especially women (Kronlid, 2003). According to Shiva (1989), one of the most important objectives of ecofeminism is to redefine how societies look at productivity and activity of both women and nature, since both have mistakenly been regarded as passive, allowing for them to be harmed. Furthermore, our traditional way of thinking prevents us from regarding forests as a productive resource unless it produces industrial raw material or other products that can be traded on a market with profit. Like researchers in environmental economics, Shiva argues that a forest may very well be productive even if it is not planted with commercial species, while producing oxygen, protecting groundwater and allowing villagers to harvest berries, mushrooms or craft materials. That is an understanding that corresponds with the ecosystem service concept and assessment (Costanza et al., 1997; MEA, 2005). Shiva further claims that women's special connection to the environment that comes from their daily interactions with it has been ignored and not recognized by the capitalist reductionist paradigm (Shiva, 1989). According to Warren (1997) the recognition of empirical connections between women and trees improves the understanding of the subordination of women. Warren exemplifies her understanding of the connections with four crucial respects in which trees, forests and forestry are a feminist issue. Firstly, women (in developing countries) are more dependent than men on trees and forest products as they provide essential elements for survival such as food, fuel, fodder, products for the home and income. Secondly, environmental degradation and forest depletion affect women harder since they have to walk further for fuelwood and fodder and since they more often are left alone to take care of the household when men seek employment in the cities. Thirdly, in many societies, especially in developing countries, women face customs, taboos, and legal and time constraints that men do not. Ownership patterns and different inheritance positions are examples of that. For the fourth, many key assumptions of forestry are male-biased, for example that forest activities that fall outside of commercial fiber production are of less importance which means that typically female activities become invisible (Warren, 1997). Now, to what extent can these conditions be observed in industrialized societies? As a start, let us look into the sparse, but growing literature on women and forestry in European countries. Research shows that both ownership patterns and inheritance positions as well as male-biased key assumptions of forestry and forest management provide insights to the understanding of observed differences in male and female forest owners' attitudes and management behaviour (Haugen, 1994; Follo, 2008; Lidestav and Nordfjell, 2005; Umaerus et al., 2013; Follo et al., 2016). For example, the traditional succession practice, (or law, as in Norway until 1974) giving priority to sons before daughters to inherit the farm has reduced the role of women in forest management to being an exception and only considered in the absence of a male heir (Haugen, 1994; Lidestav, 2010; Vainio and Paloniemi, 2013). Even if the legislation no longer discriminates women, the practices are far from gender neutral. Gender certainly has an impact on how family-owned forest land is transferred from one generation to another. Women more often become joint owners, and have more often acquired the forest land as a gift or by inheritance, while the male owners more often are sole owners and have bought the property from their parents (Lidestav, 2010). The gendered differences in transaction practice provide one possible explanation to female forest owners lower harvesting activity (Lidestav and Ekström, 2000; Lidestav and Berg Lejon, 2013), as the need for income to cover the costs for purchase is less. However, if assumptions that underlie ecofeminism are applied, this could be interpreted in such a way that female forest owners' management decisions are more likely to be guided by ecological considerations. Irrespective of the gender of the owner(s), the so-called non-industrial private forests in Sweden, of which individuals or families constitute the main part, are largely integrated into the industrial forestry paradigm, meaning that timber production is the basic income generating activity and business (Törnqvist, 1995; Lidestav and Arvidsson, 2012; Kronholm, 2015). Similar situation exists in Finland and Norway (Follo, 2008; Kuuluvainen et al., 2014) However, as the forest sector is largely dominated by men and a traditional understanding of masculinity (Johansson, 1994; Follo et al., 2016), women find it difficult to be recognized as forest owner and also find it challenging to take place in the forestry sector (Andersson and Lidestav, 2016; Follo, 2008, Lidestav, 2010; Lidestav and Sjölander, 2007). Taboos that previously excluded women from participating in hunting or logging (Johansson, 1994) may no longer exist, but forestry is still coined with perceptions and symbols that put forward men as the knowledgeable voice on forest (Andersson and Lidestav, 2016; Brandth and Haugen, 2005; Häggqvist et al., 2014; Häggqvist et al., 2010; Johansson, 2015; Lidestav and Ekström, 2000; Lidestav and Sjölander, 2007). With the discontinuation of forest grazing and use of mountain pastures as part of subsistence farming in forested and mountain regions in e.g. Scandinavia, farm women's gainful presence and activity became reduced to berry and mushroom picking (c.f. Götebo, 1996). For young unmarried women though, the introduction of large-scale planting and cleaning during the second half of 20th century offered a gateway to seasonal employment. It is also in those practical activities that today's female forest owners engage, while cutting and wood extraction are still typically male-dominated activities (Lindroos et al., 2005). However, there are no activities in timber producing forestry that female forest owners are more involved than men (Lidestav and Nordfjell, 2005; Umaerus et al., 2013). Overall, traditional timber production values and also ecological values are considered important by Swedish forest owners, but according to Nordlund and Westin (2011) women give greater value to the latter. When asked, female forest owners find preservation of old-growth forest, animals and plants, and recreational assets more important than men do. Conversely, men rate increased timber production more important than women do. Attitudes towards forest management correspond to the forest value pattern, meaning that men, compared to women, emphasize economic aspects of forest management, and women emphasize environmental and human-centred management more than men do (Nordlund and Westin, 2011). Although literature customarily reports women to express greater environmental concern than men, the picture is not unambiguous or complete. A Finnish study shows that the endorsement of nature conservation preferences increases willingness to conserve forests among male owners only (Vainio and Paloniemi, 2013), and a Swedish study of forest owners' interest and motivation for joining a forest certification scheme including their subsequent forestry activity shows that men are more likely to certify their forest land than women are (Lidestav and Berg Lejon, 2013). Women's pending or reserved attitude and engagement in the current measures are, although aiming at enhanced environmental protection, interpreted by the respective authors as in line with a masculine socio-cultural context of forestry. Still, the question of women's actor positions in contemporary family forestry in Europe remains largely uncharted (Follo et al., 2016), and not least whether expressed values and attitudes are reflected in actual behaviour with regards to the commercialization of the resource and goods that the forest property represents. Given the women's position in the production of raw material for industrial use as presented above, and further linked with the ecofeminist notion of women being closer to nature and less exploitive of it than men, we hypothesize that: 1) female forest owners are more inclined to commercialize other forest values than industrial timber and that. 2) female forest owners have a less extractive attitude towards the forest. By focusing on ownership and management, attitudes towards different forest values, and what the forest should be used for, this article applies a social ecofeminist approach adapted to the conditions of Swedish forest owning women. This approach is used as a framework for the analysis of different sets of data investigating male and female forest owners' attitudes and values, their harvesting and silvicultural activities, and their business activities connected with the forest. Thus, the study embodies the question of whether women “think greener” than men, in the sense of ecological and social issues, concerning what the forest should be used for and which concerns there are to be taken in forest management and use. 2. Materials and methods Two sources of data were used addressing different questions related to the overall research question. (1) A postal questionnaire survey on forest management and attitudes towards the forest as a resource that was designed in cooperation with Umeå University and administrated (sampling, data collection and data quality control) by the Inquiry Unit at Statistics Sweden (SCB) was used to provide information on forest management and attitudes towards the forest as a resource. (2) Data from an earlier study by Umaerus et al. (2013) was used to examine whether gender has an impact on activities based on the family forest farm (hereafter abbreviated FFF). The SCB survey (1) was conducted during the period November 2009 to February 2010. The questionnaire was distributed to 995 resident owners (living in the municipality where their forest property was located) and 997 non-resident owners (not living in the municipality where their forest property was located). The response rate for resident owners was 51.3% and 50.0% for the non-resident owners. The total number of respondents returning the questionnaire was 1009 (510 resident owners and 499 non-resident owners). Of these, 970 respondents owned forest in the range of 5–4999 ha in size (Statistic Sweden's definition of small-scale forestry) and were included in this study. The information relevant to the present study concerns statements on different aspects of physical and emotional distance and closeness, responsibility and dependency between the forest owner and his/her forest, as well as their more general opinion on what considerations private forest owners should take in their forest management. The FFF data (2) that was used to examine what business activities based on the family forest farm women and men were operating originates from the Federation of Swedish Farmers (hereafter the Swedish abbreviation LRF). LRF is collecting data from its 168,000 members through an annual survey that includes questions about the forest owners' current business activities as well as what business activities they believe are possible to develop within the next 3–5 years. The members are also asked to state whether the operations manager is a man or a woman or if the management of the business includes representatives of both sexes. In this study, the LRF member survey data from 2009 were used. Approximately 100 000 questionnaires were sent out to the main member of each household. The response rate was approximately 67% (67 218 respondents). The data analyzed in this study includes the answers from the 10 240 LRF members that both stated that they manage forest land (regardless of the size of the managed land) and the gender of the operations manager. In total, eight business activities related to the use of forest land were identified from the survey, focusing on activities within fields of various degrees of novelty: forestry, forest energy primary products, energy production, forestry contracting, wood processing, aquaculture and game farming, tourism business and health business. For a comparison of the two samples to official Swedish family forest farm ownership statistics, the share of female and male forest owners according to Swedish Statistics (2014) was in 2012 38% and 61% respectively. The average size of owned productive forestry land (including both productive and non-productive forest land, owned by one or more individuals) was 61 ha, while the exact size for male and female owners respectively is not accounted for. In the SCB dataset, 23.4% of the respondents were women and 76.6% were men, with farm holdings (according to official records that also include agricultural land) of an average size of 60.3 and 76.9 ha respectively. The survey on which the FFF dataset was based did not reveal the gender of the owner but merely the gender of the operations manager of the farm business. However, looking exclusively at those owners that own forestry land of the size of 5 to 4999 ha (as with the SCB dataset), the stated size of forestry land was 70.5 ha for farms where the operations manager was a woman, and 71.7 ha for farms where the operations manager was a man. The analysis of the data was performed using the statistical software Minitab, version 16. 3. Results 3.1. The forest owners' benefits, preferences and objectives The forest owners' valuation of the importance of possible benefits connected with the forest property could give an indication of how inclined the forest owner is to commercialise other values than production of timber for industrial use. Outdoor life/recreation was what both men and women in general put the highest value in (Table 1). The statistically significant differences between men and women concern the valuation of a; hunting and fishing, which was more appreciated by male owners and b; berries and mushrooms, more appreciated by female owners. Table 1. Forest owners' valuation of the importance of different forest-related benefits/values (From 1 = not important at all to 5 = Very important, Mean). The numbers show the percentage of respondents who have answered 4 or 5. Difference (∆) and statistical significance is calculated between row pairs. Differences of statistical significance on a 5% level (Pearson Chi-Square test) are marked with the letter a. Gender Forest benefits/values Total Man Woman ∆ n = 970 n = 724 n = 221 A. Forest revenue 28 28 28 0 B. Hunting & fishing 35 37 27 10a C. Berries & mushrooms 25 21 38 − 17a D. Timber/firewood own use 44 44 43 1 E. Residence 48 49 44 5 F. Outdoor life/recreation 58 58 63 − 5 G. Contact with family/friends/upbringing 33 32 38 − 5 H. Forestry tradition 38 40 34 6 The forest can be described as a resource sought after for many reasons. In the valuation of forest-related objectives that possibly could be in conflict with each other, such as production and preservation, several significant differences between male and female forest owners were found (Table 2). The single most highly valued objective for male owners was increased timber production while female owner's highest valued objective was the preservation of plants and animals. Male owners valued objectives related to production higher than female owners, who valued preservation of native forests, plants, animals and cultural environments higher than male owners. For both men and women recreation, tourism and hunting/fishing were the least valued areas of forest-related objectives. Table 2. The value of forest as a resource in general; forest owner's valuation of the importance of various objectives (from 1 = not important at all to 7 = very important). The numbers show the percentage of respondents who have answered 5, 6 or 7. Difference (∆) and statistical significance is calculated between row pairs. Differences of statistical significance on a 5% level (Pearson Chi-Square test) are marked with the letter a. Objective P = production value E = ecological value O = other value (cultural/recreational Gender Total Men Women ∆ n = 970 n = 724 n = 221 P: Increased timber production 73 76 65 10a P: Increased biofuel production 69 70 67 3a E: Preservation of native forests 54 52 62 − 9a E: Preservation of plants and animals 74 72 81 − 10a O: Preservation of cultural environments 56 53 68 − 16a O: Increased areas for recreation 29 27 37 − 10 O: Increased tourism in the forest landscape 24 23 28 − 6 O: Increased possibilities for hunting/fishing 45 46 40 6 A similar pattern as in the valuation of different forest resources can be seen in relation to the question concerning what considerations the respondents believe that private forest owners should take in their forest management. Both female and male forest owners valued consideration to the profitability of the forest property the highest, however, male owners' valuation of the profitability aspect was significantly higher than female owners' (Table 3). Female forest owners, on the other hand, expressed to a significantly higher extent than male owners that considerations should be taken towards biological diversity, the preservation of the forest landscape and outdoor life. Table 3. Forest owner's valuation of which considerations private forest owners should take in their forestry (from 1 = little consideration to 7 = great consideration). The numbers show the percentage of respondents who have answered 5, 6 or 7. Difference (∆) and statistical significance is calculated between row pairs. Differences of statistical significance on a 5% level (Pearson Chi-Square test) are marked with the letter a. Consideration to take in own forestry P = production value E = ecological value O = other value (cultural/recreational) Gender Men Women ∆ n = 724 n = 221 P: The profitability of the forest property 82 76 6a P: The industrial need for raw material 55 45 11 E: Biological diversity 57 67 -10a E: Landscape conservation 66 73 -7a O: Possibilities for hunting and fishing 57 53 4 O: Other outdoor life 38 46 -8a 3.2. The ownership and responsibility of the forest property Three thirds of the owners had owned the property ten years or more, with no significant difference between women and men. Similarly, no significant difference was found regarding sole or joint ownership; half were sole owners, one quarter owned the forest together with their spouse/partner, and one quarter together with relatives. For those who were joint owners (48.3% of the men and 47.3% of the women), their opinion on the distribution of the responsibility between the owners differs significantly (Table 4). Men perceive themselves to a much greater extent carrying a big responsibility for overall decision-making and planning, and even more regarding the “day-to-day” management and operation. Table 4. Joint forest owners perception of the distribution of responsibility between themselves and co-owners. Proportion (%) of respondents stating 5,6 or 7 on a 7-grade scale. Men % Women % p-value (Pearson Chi-square) I have big responsibility for overall decision making and planning 66.6 36.4 0.00 Co-owners have big responsibility for overall decision making and planning 23.9 47.3 0.00 I have a big responsibility for the “day-to-day” management and operation. 72.3 34.0 0.00 Co-owners have a big responsibility for the “day-to-day” management and operation. 20.4 54.4 0.00 Further, the way of acquisition of the property differs significantly. Men have to a larger extent bought the forest either from relatives or on the market while women to a larger extent have become forest owners by inheritance or gift (Table 5). Table 5. Forest owners acquisition of their forest property. Men % Women % p-value (Pearson Chi-Square) Purchase at the market 20.0 11.5 0.01 Purchase from relatives 43.2 25.5 0.00 Inheritance 22.0 38.0 0.00 Gift 13.2 22.0 0.00 Other 1.7 3.0 0.24 3.3. Activities related to the own forest In terms of physical distance between the owner and her/his forest property the SCB survey data analysis revealed that women as an average live closer to their forest than men (153 km compared to 172, p-value = 0.000), but also that they more seldom visit their forest property. While 76.4% of the men visit their forest every second month or more often, 59.6% of the women do so (p-value = 0.000). The predominant reason for both men's and women's visits is to look after the forest, the house and other buildings. More men than women go to the forest farm for work, while more women than men go there for vacation and to meet with family and friends (Table 6). When it comes to forestry work, men are more likely to spend much time in planning, cleaning, thinning and final felling (Table 7). Table 6. Forest owners main reasons for visiting the forest property. Men % Women % p-value (Pearson Chi-square) Supervision of forest 43.8 41.2 0.49 Supervision of houses and buildings 33.2 36.2 0.40 Work in forest 32.3 17.2 0.00 Vacation 22.7 35.8 0.00 Meet family and friends 10.1 19.0 0.00 Other 7.9 9.1 0.58 Table 7. Proportion of forest owners indicating that they spend much time in forestry operations (i.e. 5, 6 or 7 on a 7-grade scale). Men % Women % p-value (Pearson Chi-square) Planning 13.7 6.3 0.01 Planting 9.6 6.1 0.14 Cleaning 18.6 5.8 0.00 Thinning 12.2 3.9 0.00 Final felling 4.4 1.2 0.05 (0,049) Other 13.0 5.1 0.18 In terms of commercial forestry activity measured as a proportion of forest land subjected to cleaning, thinning and final felling during the last 10 years, no statistically significant differences were found between properties owned by women or men, regardless sole or joint ownership (Table 8). Table 8. Reported final felling, thinning and cleaning during the last 10 years. The share of the owned forest property that was subjected to the forestry activity. Mean values for men and women with sole ownership (“Sole”) and joint ownership (“Joint”) respectively. Final felling/silvicultural activity Men ownership Women ownership N = 724 N = 221 Both Sole Joint Both Sole Joint Final felling (mean, % of the forest property) 12 12 12 15 16 14 Thinning (mean, % of the forest property) 18 18 18 20 22 19 Cleaning (mean, % of the forest property) 16 16 16 16 15 17 Size of holding (mean, ha) 82 80 83 72 75 70 Size of holding (median, ha) 45 44 45 35 33 37 The 10 240 forest owners included from the LRF survey reported 14 950 business activities within the group of eight activities. In total, 7.5% (772) reported a woman to be the sole operations manager of the business at the farm, while 64.0% (6550) stated that the business was managed by a man, and 28.5% (2918) stated that both a man and a woman served as operations managers (Table 9). In the analysis, existing and anticipated businesses were combined in order to capture both the present state and a possible near future business development. The majority of the business activities included in the study had a sole male as the operations manager. The low share of female operations managers was most notable in traditional business activities, i.e. activities connected to forestry work and wood processing. In forestry, which is one of the most traditional activities studied, women were sole operations managers in only 6.3% of the businesses. The business activity that had the highest share of single female operations managers was related to health/rehabilitation. Health/rehabilitation was also the business activity that had the largest share of joint management and the least share of single male operations managers. In all other business activities, the most common operation management consisted of a sole man. Table 9. The gender of the operations manager(s) for the eight studied business activities (existing and potential. For each business activity, columns that do not share a letter are significantly different (p < 0.05, Fisher's exact test). Business activity Operations manager is a man (%) Operations manager is both a man and a woman (%) Operations manager is a woman (%) Share of all owners with the activity (%) Forestry 65.3 a 28.4 a 6.3 b 69.2 Forestry contracting 75.4 a 22.4 b 2.2 c 9.9 Wood processing 66.6 a 30.5 a 2.8 b 6.9 Forest energy primary products 67.9 a 28.3 a 3.8 b 21.7 Energy production 66.8 a 29.6 a 3.6 b 13.7 Aquaculture & game farming 64.2 a 31.9 a 4.0 b 4.2 Tourism business 55.7 a 35.7 b 8.6 b 10.0 Health business 35.4 a 45.3 b 19.3 c 1.9 4. Discussion The present study has examined differences (and similarities) between men's and women's valuations of different forest-based benefits and opinions about what the forest should be used for and also which considerations there are to be taken by forest owners regarding forest management. Another area of investigation was whether female forest owners compared to male forest owners are more inclined to commercialise other forest values than industrial timber. The impact of ownership structure on forestry activity and possible male-biased key assumptions of forestry, such as which forest values that are regarded as more important by men and women respectively, have been in focus. The differences in final felling and silvicultural activities between male and female forest owners that were noticeable in the data from earlier studies from 1992 to 1994 (Lidestav and Ekström, 2000) and 2003–2006 (Lidestav and Berg Lejon, 2013) were not apparent in the current survey based on SCB data where only small and statistically non-significant differences were seen. Regarding the valuation of different forest benefits and values, however, this study provides indications of differences between female and male forest owner's inclination and expressed intention of caring for either timber for industrial use or other, more non-traditional forest values like ecological, recreational or social values. The results presented show that female forest owners value forest resources that are not regarded as traditional production values to a higher extent than male owners, such as those that have an environmental, recreational or social value. As seen in Nordlund and Westin's analysis of data from the same SCB survey (2011) there is a potential conflict of interest in forest values, since the same person can hold both strong production and strong ecological values. In the present study, it is especially apparent regarding female forest owners who in contrast to male forest owners valued preservation of native forests and cultural environments as important as increased production. Yet, as shown in Table 7, they have been as active as male forest owners in final felling and thinning during the last 10 years. Thus, this raises the question of whether women have different strategies than men to deal with conflicting interests in forest values, and whether they really are more likely to set aside productive forest land for nature conservation as reported by Lidestav and Nordfjell (2005). To put it differently, are female forest owners actually more inclined to manage their forest property in the direction of a “greener” forest management? The subordination of women is, according to ecofeminist theory, based on differences between men and women in relation to the ownership and management of forest land. In western countries, most of the female forest owners and managers may not be as dependent on forest products for survival as is the case in developing countries, neither do they directly suffer more from environmental degradation and forest resource depletion, as often is the case in developing countries (Warren, 1997). Still, research has shown that female forest owners in the developed Western world face several of the obstacles connected with a gender-biased forestry (Lidestav, 2010; Andersson and Lidestav, 2016). The forest owners' valuation of the forest as a resource addresses some of the key assumptions that form the foundation of the traditional male-biased view of forestry products and management. That applies especially to the assumption that activities and forest products that do not include the traditional and commercial forestry values that contributes to GNP, fall outside of what is considered as forest management. Differences between men and women in their appreciation of assorted benefits/values of the forest (Table 1) were found for hunting and fishing, that more male than female owners valued higher, and berries and mushrooms that more female than male owners valued higher. A corresponding difference in the valuation of berries and mushrooms were also found by Lidestav and Nordfjell (2005), although their study did not report any difference between male and female owners' appreciation of hunting and fishing. In general, differences in the valuation of these benefits/values, that could be described as values for the owner's own benefit and do not include the possible conflict between production and ecological values, were in the present study mainly found between resident and non-resident owners. However, it is interesting to see that forest revenue on its own is valued as being of high importance by the same share of female owners as of male owners. The differences between male and female owners regarding production values and ecological values, and to some extent cultural values, were significant. It could be seen as an indicator that women really do “think greener” than men, i.e. that they more highly than men value other benefits than traditional timber production and that there also could be a difference between men and women when it comes to specific choices on how to manage forest land. Since the differences in average were smaller regarding production values as opposed to ecological and cultural values, an alternative interpretation could be that women on an individual level more easily can incorporate their nature conservation preferences with traditional forest production values (c.f. Vainio and Paloniemi, 2013) than male forest owners can incorporate production preferences with ecological and cultural values. That could indicate that the practical management of forest properties owned by women to a greater extent is based on a combination of the two perspectives, i.e. production values and other values than is the case in forest properties managed by men. If so, the ecofeminist argument put forward by Shiva (1989), that forest provide humans and society with productive resources beyond the raw material that is traded on the market, seems to be valid. Yet, to more firmly establish a special connection (and different to men) between women and the forest environment, questions on how often they interact and in which ways has to be answered. Regrettably this study, which did not report significant differences between male and female owners' level of activity regarding forestry activities (final felling, thinning and cleaning), did not include questions that could have revealed a difference in how the forestry activities were planned and executed, i.e. what considerations to ecological values, such as nature conservation, that actually were made. Thereby, the survey data used can rightly be criticized for being limited by a traditional understanding of the relation between the forest owner and his/her forest as in first of all a matter of timber production (c.f. Shiva's critique of the capitalist reductionist paradigm). Yet, the significant differences between female and male owners in the valuation of the profitability of the forest property and ecological values (biodiversity and landscape conservation), indicates that female owners would be more willing than male owners to sacrifice profit for the benefit of ecological values. This could possibly be a gateway for redefining productivity in forest and what it is to be an active forest owner. The results from the LRF survey provide additional information on female forest owners' commitment to the family forest farm as an existing business and developable resource. Women as sole operational managers were in minority in comparison to men in all types of business activities, but their participation was higher in the more novel activities, such as tourism and health business. An interpretation of this phenomenon could be that women are more inclined to regard and adapt to forest resources with a less traditional eye than men and, since they also value production highly, they are entering the forest from both a traditional and a “new” way that also includes ecological, recreational and social values to a higher extent than male owners. Even if FFF businesses today still are significantly influenced by gender, which is reflected in the low share of female operations managers, women's broader perspective on a multiplicity of values and business opportunities based on the forest and its resources could lead to a development where women become more involved in managing different types of forest values, both production values and ecological values. The results strengthen the assumption that women are more inclined to see business opportunities in less traditional activities and that gender can affect the valuations women and men have regarding the forest as a resource for developing business activities. When considering the basic assumptions in ecofeminist theory, where women to a larger extent are regarded as being dependent on finding means of survival closer to the home, (e.g. Warren, 1997; Plumwood, 1992), this could be interpreted as a sign of women's higher inclination to develop business activities in areas such as tourism and health/rehabilitation, where a daily closeness to the property is of greater importance than what is the case in more traditional business activities like forestry. As the present study shows, there are identifiable differences between male and female appreciation of different forest-related values and opinions about what the forest should be used for and what considerations that should be taken, supporting the assumption of female forest owners' higher inclination to commercialise other forest values than the traditional ones. However, the data from the present study shows no valid support for the assumption that female forest owners living on their forest properties are more inclined to seek alternative sources of income based on the forest than production of roundwood than those that are not living on their properties. We have concluded that the ecofeminist framework can provide useful tools in analyzing female forest owners' possibilities to manage their forest land and the variety of benefits that it produces, especially with regards to ownership patterns and the values and belief systems that are connected with forest ownership and management. The perspective must, however, be adopted to prevailing conditions and systems of cultural meaning in the society in question. To this end, complementary theoretical perspective can be useful, e.g. environmental psychology. According to Dietz et al. (2002) gender differences in environmentalism is connected to the phenomenon that women rank altruism more important than men, which in turn can be explained by their different life experience and socialization. Further, the findings from the present study stress the need of combining quantitative data on management activities performed with attitudes and values expressed in order to obtain a deeper understanding of women's relation to the male-biased forestry in ownership structures, management and, in particular, valuations of traditional production values vs. other non-traditional values. Both areas could be successfully addressed through a carefully mixed methods design, e.g. using the forest management plan as a point of departure for interviews on performed activities and the owners' intentions regarding future activities suggested in the management plan. In addition, forest-related issues beyond the content of a traditional male-biased management plans and practices should be raised and the answers analyzed with focus on cultural meaning of management of a forest property and the commercialization of different goods that a forest can offer. 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