Shareholder perceptions of individual and common benefits in Swedish forest commons


In the period 1861 to 1918, thirty-three commons were established in Northern Sweden. This was linked to the finalisation of the Great Redistribution of Forest Holdings in Dalarna and the delimitation process in Västerbotten and Norrbotten. They were intended to serve as an instrument for improved and sustained forest production, the viability of farmers and the liveability of the rural communities in the areas where they were established. The aim of this paper is to describe the results of a study examining how three of these forest commons, one from each region, have benefitted the local shareholders and their community. The perceptions among forest common shareholders were assessed using a questionnaire. The study also assessed economic impact on shareholders in terms of extent and use of the dividend from each of the commons for the period 1958-2007, highlighting the extent of the economic support to individual shareholders and to the local community. Results reveal large differences between the three cases; there was a positive correlation between the extent of the economic support and contentment among the shareholders.

International Journal of the Commons 7(1): 164-182