Current issue: 54(2)
Comprehensive state laws regulating the practice of forest management on private lands are in effect in seven of the United States. Established to protect a wide range of non-timber forest resources and to ensure reforestation after harvest, these laws may impose significant administrative costs on states and significant compliance costs on landowners and timber operators. Total state administration costs for 1984 are estimated at $10.1 and total private sector compliance costs are estimated at $120.5 million, for a total regulation cost of $130.6 million.
The resource protection effectiveness of state forest practice regulation is difficult to quantify. However, agreement is strong that regulation has led to significant improvements in forest resource conditions and has helped to increase reforestation.
To conduct an efficient forest policy, both a normative and a positive theory are necessary. In addition, however, the explicit intertemporal considerations in natural resource economics demand that it is made crystal clear which means are permanent and which are non-permanent. The permanent case is far from easy to solve.
That the theoretical problems have practical relevance is shown by Swedish experience. A practical course of action is to weight possible positive effects from a permanent subsidy against possible deleterious outcomes. It is also desirable to avoid jerkiness in forest policy, which is likely to create uncertainty about the permanence of permanent means.
Law may sometimes be more efficient in creating ”credibility” than economic incentives. Regeneration has been mandatory in Sweden since 1903, and nobody refrains from cutting because he believes that regeneration duty will be abolished in some near future.
Forest legislation is one of the important institutional elements for the development and expansion of the forest sector. It provides the structural framework within which national forest policies are set and in turn reflects or should reflect their objectives and priorities. It is also an indispensable instrument for the implementation of those policies.
Forest laws in the sector specific sense have been modified and developed considerably during the last decades. They tend to incorporate more and more provisions on environmental protection and natural resources management and become de facto part of such legislation. Forest legislation as a whole can today only be interpreted meaningfully if it is considered within the framework of an expanding legal system for environmental conservation and social development.
The purpose of this paper is to discuss the effect that the various measures by society have on bringing the level of the annual cut by private woodlot owners in line with the forestry policy goal of a long-term sustained yield of wood. The objectives and measures of forest policy in Sweden are described, as well as the central relations which explain the development in the logging policies of the private woodlot owners.
The goal of Swedish forestry policy has long been to safeguard a sustained yield of wood. This demand has successively been tightened, defined and detailed. The principle measure employed by the authorities to obtain the goal has been silvicultural legislation.
The author summarises that of all the means available of influencing the logging policy of private woodlot owners the most effective is silvicultural legislation. However, when viewed in an historical perspective, the legislation has not been able to significantly regulate the level of the annual cut. Nevertheless, at a time when there is a shortage of wood materials the legislation will undoubtedly exert a greater influence. Changes in forest taxation could prove to be an effective means in future of, for example, achieving an increase in the annual cut of private woodlot owners.