Research Report 12

Guidelines for Establishing Farm Forestry Accountancy Networks: MOSEFA

Anssi Niskanen and Walter Sekot
Research Report 12
Brill: Leiden, Boston, Köln, 2001
hardback, 126 p.
ISBN: 90-04-12289-3, ISSN: 1238-8785

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Summary

The principal objective of these guidelines is to provide assistance for developing a generic monitoring system for the assessment of the socio-economic performance of farm forestry enterprises. The guidelines are designed to assist the economic monitoring for farm forestry enterprises through the compilation and development of monitoring methodology.

The guidelines have approached the objective of monitoring the economics of farm forestry enterprises from the perspective of forestry accounting. In these guidelines, some recommendations are made as to how to overcome the difficulties of accounting in forestry and how to help to improve the harmonisation of the protocols used for farm forestry accounting in Europe.

To be able to establish a representative sample of farm forestry enterprises, comprehensive and up to date information on the total population of the enterprises in question is necessary. As the informa-tion on the total population is seldom complete, information deficits need to be considered together with the costs of improving the sample representativeness. In many cases the optimal approach is not to strive for a total representation of the underlying population, but to reshape the population under investigation by defining respective cut-offs. Once the sample is established, data are collected from the sample enterprises either by special enumerators or the data is reported by a farm forest owner. Once collected, accountancy data can be stored into a database system and processed according to the principles of: financial accounting for determining the financial profitability and asset value of an enterprise; cost accounting for providing information on costs; and management accounting for providing information to assist the management of a farm forest enterprise.

Often the monetary information collected at the farm level has to be combined with non-monetary information such as physical quantities of input and output (cubic metres, hectares, etc.), measures describing forest resources (age class, etc.) as well as purely qualitative information (skill, education, etc.). In addition, as forest services are often of high value to forest owners and other stakeholders, they should be explicitly considered in accounting as far as possible. Such items as hunting, recreation, amenity values and nature protection may sometimes have considerably high economic importance for forest owners, compared, for example, with timber production.

For international comparisons of the economic performance of farm forestry enterprises, it has to be accepted that at the moment the data are not produced in a consistent way among many European countries. Because different countries are at different phases as regards to the adoption and use of the monitoring systems and accounting networks, it was not seen realistic at the stage of these guidelines to aim for a fully standardised monitoring system at the European level. Therefore, the guidelines support the development and application of monitoring systems that would lead towards international harmonisation – keeping in mind consistency and comparability – but not restricting the flexibility of national applications.

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