Community forests in NRW and legal framework

Community forests in NRW and legal framework


The ownership of the forests is shared by the stockholders as an historically rooted legal framework. Due to different backgrounds in formation, there is no relation between the size of community forests and the number of stockholders.
The four cornerstones of the community forest law from 1975 are:
All stockholders are part of a public corporation, the forest cooperative
It is forbidden so dissolve forest areas which are part of a community forest
Consistent management policies for all kinds of community forests
The possibility to merge forest cooperatives or create new ones

For the creation of the community forest law in 1975, an advisory board with participants from all existing forms of community forests was formed. Because if this involvement the framework is well accepted and has proved its practicability. Since the implementation of the community forest law until 2002 only two new forest cooperatives have been founded. It is not easy to convince private forest owners to make this step

There are several advantages of community forests compared to small private forests:  
a chairman can decide for all members how to manage the forest, especially after calamities such as a storm
merger of forest cooperatives and newly founded cooperatives improve the forest ownership structure

Region of origin
Type of wood
Origin of wood
Mobilization Potential
1 - 2 m³/ha in region of NRW
Kind of wood concerned
Sustainability Potential
Impact on environment & biodiversity

Positive - depending on management decisions

Ease of implementation
Economic impact
Estimated up to 50€/ ha
Job effect
More efficient forest operations and thinnings possible with higher forest work force
Income effect
Specific knowledge needed
Medium; need for specific regional structure knowledge and also administrative expertise
Key prerequisites

Regional ownership structures and legal frameworks need to be suitable; participation processes needed in the implementation

Ownership, cooperation
Digital solution
Country of origin
Region of origin
Scale of application
Start and end year
References and Resources
Project under which this factsheet has been created