Mizaras, S. and Mizaraitė, D. 2015. Integrated Economic and Social Approaches for the Evaluation of Forest Management Sustainability: the Case of Lithuania. Baltic Forestry 21(1): 96-105

According to the concept of sustainable forest management, forests should be managed to meet the social, economic, ecological, cultural and spiritual needs of present and future generations. There exist problems in deciding how evaluate best the conception of sustainable forest management and there are several methods for the assessment of forest management sustainability: multi-criteria analysis, economic evaluation of forest multifunctionality, and a social choice approach.

Research objectives are to develop an integrated method for evaluating forest management sustainability based on an economic evaluation of forest multifunctionality and on the opinions of the population regarding the relative importance of different types of forest resources.

Research methods are analysis of scientific and other sources related to the evaluation of forest management sustainability, methods for classifying forest functions, and evaluation of forest management sustainability through a sociological survey of the population.

In our study the economic evaluation of multifunctionality of Lithuanian forests revealed the following proportions for the three types of resources in the forest structure: economic one constituted 41.1 %, ecological one amounted 37.6% and social one was 21.3 %. According to the results of the sociological survey, the importance of economic resources is 39 %, followed by the ecological resources, 32 % and the social resources, 29 %. To evaluate the forest management sustainability level, we used a comparison method, in which the results of the economic evaluation of forest resources were compared with the results of the sociological survey that measured the respondents’ preferences. The results of this comparison revealed that the level of forest management sustainability corresponds to 84.6 % of the survey respondents’ expectations.

Key words: forests, sustainability, economic evaluation, sociological survey.