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Abstract

This study sought to identify the most typical timber trade network structures among Finnish family forest owners. Finding the most typical networks means that owners’ structural equivalence is defined. From a forest policy perspective, structurally equivalent owners, i.e. those who have the same kind of network structure, can be reached in similar ways. Data were collected via a mail questionnaire. The questionnaire was sent to 2084 Finnish family forest owners. Response rate was 59.7. After multiple imputation, social networks of 753 forest owners were included in the examination. The four most typical social-network structures in timber trade were identified through a cluster analysis. The members of FMA-partners have always connection with an advisor of the local Forest Management Association (FMA). This connection is often bi-directional and exclusive. Connections of Independent timber sellers are directed mainly towards a timber buyer. Relationship builders have the greatest number of connections compared with other groups. Non-committed FMA-members have a dense connection with FMA and relationships also with a timber buyer and their family. Knowledge of owners’ networks helps service providers to offer support in timber trade and in other concrete decision situations. Service preferences of the identified owner groups need, however, more in-depth study.

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