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Overseas Development Institute
"The pattern of forest ownership, like agricultural land ownership in general, has been significantly influenced by the egalitarian ideology of the French Revolution. The principle of equal inheritance of all heirs was enshrined in the Code NapoleÂon of 1804 which still forms the basis of French civil law. One result of this has been a tendency to fragmentation of land holdings. Today, more than 70% of the total forest area is under private ownership, and 25% of this is in small ownerships(less than 4 ha).2 Only 12% of forests are under state ownership, while 18% are owned by collectivite publiques (local government authorities3). The forests of France are notably diverse in species type; 89 tree species are found, 61% of them broadleaf, especially oak (Quercus spp.) and beech (Fagus spp.), with the remaining 39% conifers, particularly pine (Pinus spp.), or (Abies spp.) and spruce (Picea spp.). Coppice woodlands still cover almost one half of the forest area. The fragmented nature of many of the forest holdings poses some difficulties for the operation of the processing industries, which tend to be concentrated near the ports, far from many small producers, and the economics of small-scale management in France are a subject of debate among forestry professionals. France is the leading producer of hardwoods in Europe, while in production of conifers it is surpassed only by the Scandinavian countries and Germany. In addition to timber, France's forests provide a range of other products and services, including a number of important and distinctive non-timber products (various fruits and nuts; cork from the cork oak [Quercus suber]; mushrooms and truf¯es; etc). The French are renowned for their love of hunting; revenue from the issue of hunting permits for government forests alone brought in more than FF 170 m. in 1992."
forest policy, foreign aid, colonization, forestry--tropics, forestry--research