volume: 43, issue:
Legislation and policy makers have recognized private forest owners cooperation in machinery ring as an instrument to support wood mobilization through efficient use of machinery. The study analyzes private forest owner's cooperation in the machinery ring in Slovenia and determines whether this cooperation contributes to wood mobilization from small-scale private forests. The research was conducted in two phases. In the first phase, the survey was conducted among the members of machinery rings at their annual general meetings (24 machinery rings participated in the survey, representing 64.9% of the total number of machinery rings). The questionnaire was distributed to all members present at the annual general meetings (n=529) and only those who were private forest owner or provided services within machinery rings were eligible to complete the questionnaire (n=438). In the second phase, data on the amount of service provided by machinery ring members were compared with the amount of felling in private forests for 2019 to gain insight into the extend of forestry work (timber harvesting) carried out in a private forest under neighbourhood assistance.The results show that machinery rings members are predominantly male, on average 50 years old, mainly with high school education and occupation in agriculture, owning on average 15.2 ha of forest. Regardless of forest management activities, machinery ring members perform forest management activities in their forest by themselves or with the help of family members. Only a small proportion of members use neighbourhood assistance to carry out the work. This most often occurs in the transport of timber. A very small proportion of members provide forest services through the machinery ring, but their scope of services is not insignificant. In 2019, machinery ring members most often performed harvesting activities with the chain saw, followed by timber skidding as a service. Equipment with machinery for providing services is good among members – about three quarters of them have a chainsaw and an adapted agricultural tractor, but this machinery is quite old, showing that machinery is insufficiently used for forestry operations. The results show that machinery rings are nowadays an essential part of strategic (operational) management in Slovenian agriculture and forestry, and provide important insights into the possibilities to improve forestry operations and the future development cooperation between private forest owners in machinery rings to support wood mobilization from small-scale private forests.