Springe zu
Deutsch | English
Deutsch | English

PhD Position on motivation and behaviour of small-forest owners for multifunctional management in Europe

The Chair of Forest and Environmental Policy offers a PhD Position on motivation and behaviour of small-forest owners for multifunctional management in Europe
  • Bewerbungsfrist: 10.12.2023
  • Veröffentlicht: 14.11.2023
  • Start-date: At the earliest possible date.
  • Part-time position (65 %)
  • Kennziffer: 00003417


Are you a motivated candidate with a background in social or political sciences, forestry, environmental science or a related field? Are you interested in forest-related issues and eager to develop innovative policy approaches and solutions for addressing urgent policy problems? Are you passionate about exploring the motivations and needs of forest owners in Europe? Do you have a keen interest in the concept of Living Labs? If you cover at least one of these aspects, we warmly invite you to apply for a challenging and rewarding PhD position within our dynamic and collaborative research project!

The chair of Forest and Environmental policy at the University of Freiburg invites applications for a vacant PhD position within the framework of an exciting four-year project “Small4Good” focused on small-forest owners in Europe. Given that small-forest owners are responsible for 60% of Europe’s forests, the strategic objective of Small4Good is to enable and activate this group of actors to safeguard biodiversity and enhance the provision of ecosystem services through multifunctional and locally adapted management models. Additionally, the project intends to investigate mechanisms such as payment for ecosystem services schemes and technical support via AI-based solutions. The successful candidate will contribute to the research objectives of the project, enhancing our understanding of motivations and barriers for small-forest owners, both within local living labs and across Europe.

Project Overview:

Small4Good (Sustainable multifunctional management by small-forest owners in support of bioeconomy, biodiversity and climate) aims to address the diverse objectives of the approximately 16 million private forest owners responsible for 60% of Europe's forest area. The PhD candidate will contribute to the social and policy sciences aspects of the project, namely quantitatively and qualitatively:

  • Identify key drivers and barriers of small-scale multifunctional management.
  • Identify key properties for the acceptance and uptake of Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) schemes.
  • Synthesize understanding of small-forest owners' behaviours.

Your tasks:

The successful candidate will engage in the following tasks:

  • Conduct literature and document synthesis to identify main drivers and barriers of achieving ecosystem services among traditional and non-traditional small-scale forest owners.
  • Collaborate with project partners and conduct explorative qualitative interviews with representatives of national and European forest owner associations and experts in forest extension.
  • Update literature databases with recent studies, focusing on small-forest owners, and synthesize characteristics of PES and carbon farming schemes.
  • Develop standardized online surveys to be administered in Nordic (Norway), East (Romania), Central (Switzerland/Germany), and South (Spain) regions.
  • Utilize multivariate data analysis to estimate relationships between key variables and uptake.
  • Investigate schemes incentivizing biodiversity and carbon, along with other services, to provide sustainable income streams for small-forest owners.
  • Analyse socio-empirical data to create a typology for small-forest owners, enabling a cross-European comparison of environmental and institutional framework conditions. Explore specific preferences for PES schemes using stated preference methods.
  • Publications​ of research results in international scientific journals and presentations at scientific conferences.

Your profile:

The prospective candidate must have:

  • Master's degree in social or political sciences, forestry, environmental science, environmental governance or a related field.
  • Strong background in qualitative and quantitative research methods.
  • Familiarity with forest management, ecosystem services, and environmental economics.
  • Proficiency in English and German; knowledge of additional languages is an advantage.
  • Competencies in preparing research reports, presentations at project meetings and the organization of events.
  • Excellent communication and collaboration skills, experience in cooperating with other disciplines and practice partners, high levels of team spirit and social competence.

Application Procedure:

Apart from your motivational letter and CV, your application should give a brief (approx. 1 page) account of your personal interest in Forest policy research.

Please send your application in German or Enlish language in a single PDF file.

The position is limited to 31.12.2027. The salary will be determined in accordance with E13 TV-L.

We are particularly pleased to receive applications from women for the position advertised here.


Please send your application including supporting documents mentioned above citing the reference number 00003417, by 10.12.2023 at the latest. Please send your application to the following address in written or electronic form:

Universität Freiburg
Professur für Forst- und Umweltpolitik
Tennenbacherstrasse 4
D-79106 Freiburg

For further information, please contact Dr. Andy Selter on the phone number +49 761 203-3716 or E-Mail andy.selter@ifp.uni-freiburg.de.