Economic integration of urban consumers demand and rural forestry production


This programme explored the problems and possible solutions to forest-based entrepreneurship in small-scale forestry, wood processing and non-wood forest products and services aiming at improved employment and income in rural areas.

The information collected and analysed included the problem area analysis as well as the determination of recommendations and practical solutions and contributed especially to the planning and implementation of rural development activities, such as structural funding in many sparsely populated regions of Europe.

The Action provided a better understanding of the similarities and differences on the economic integration of small-scale forestry to local wood processing and urban demand for forest-based services in European Union member states, Associate Candidate EU countries and other Central and Eastern European countries. This especially provided relevant information for the discussions on forest privatisation in the CEE countries.

The programme was split into three main scientific areas, each of which was covered by a separate working group:

  • WG1 - Small scale forestry
    The focused on the analyses of owner's attitudes on forestry and forest utilisation, small-scale forestry production possibilities and the integration of small-scale forestry into local small- and medium-scale wood and non-wood processing industries.
  • WG2 - Small and medium size enterprises in wood processing industries
    This aimed to analyse the conditions under which the performance of SMEs in wood processing industries using locally produced resources can be improved to meet the demands of urban consumer markets. The focus was on the analysis of increased business opportunities in SMEs in wood processing industries that could create jobs, raise employment and help the development of rural areas.
  • WG3 - Non-wood forest products and services
    This aimed to analyse the conditions under which the demand of especially urban population on non-wood forest products and services can be better integrated into rural supply. The focus was in the analysis of increased opportunities for demand-driven entrepreneurship in non-wood forest products and services.

Research objectives

The overall objective was as stated in the summary above. Other objectives were to:

  • Increase the knowledge base for forest based and market integrated rural development
  • Improve the understanding of the private sector development potentials of forestry-wood-processing-chains and bring value-adding closer to the sites where trees are growing.

Funders and partners

EU flag
This programme was funded by the European Union - COST action E30

Further information

The programme was divided into phases:

  • Phase I
    Research work to cover definitions, national applications, and historical background of various small-scale forestry practises (WG 1), the options and value-adding in utilising local wood resources for local manufacturing (WG 2), and the uses of non-wood forest products and services provided by forests in different countries (WG 3).
  • Phase II
    Research to cover the problem area analysis of the above mentioned fields.
  • Phase III
    Research work, on the basis of problem area analyses, which included the evaluation of solutions and practical recommendations on the problems defined in the phase II.
  • Phase IV
    Work covering the reporting of the scientific findings and summarising the practical recommendations of the Action.

Programme details including reports and publications


The programme commenced in 2003 and completed in 2008.


David Edwards

EU contacts

Chairperson: Anssi Niskanenn

Vice-chairperson: Ewald Rametsteiner