The agreement to launch the new European Union (EU) strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth--Europe 2020 (2010) creates a need for research initiatives to develop the new concept of competitiveness, with much of the research focusing on how sustainable development and competitiveness interact (Balkyte and Tvaronaviciene 2010: 360).
On the one side, the challenge "to continually improve the quality of life and wellbeing on Earth for present and future generations" leads to the growing role of sustainable development.
On the other side, competitiveness race in the global economy is becoming more aggressive. Competitiveness is both a test of the economy and a chance to further enhance economic performance.
Generally, it is important not only to state the fact about the achievements in the context of competitiveness, but the most important "puzzler" is to find out the factors, which create the complex competitive advantage of the country or region in the future (Balkyte and Tvaronaviciene 2010: 359).
According to the strategy Europe 2020 (2010), EU Member States should decouple economic growth from resource use, turning environmental challenges into growth opportunities and making efficient use of their natural resources.
There is a need for research initiatives to evaluate the natural resources role for the competitiveness in the context of sustainable development in the long prosperity.
It is generally recognized, that natural resources provide many benefits to society and to the economy and play an important role in the preservation of natural biodiversity and the mitigation of climate change. The quality of our ecosystems--namely air, water, soils and forests--should be ahead of negative impact of climate change.
Globalisation challenges increase the need to evaluate the basic factors, such as land, capital and labour, with new approach. Climate change and sustainable development dimension call for the acknowledgement of the role of natural resources for competitiveness and long-term development.
Despite the accepted importance of the forestry sector for sustainable development, there is a significant lack of information on forests ownership in Europe. The changing situation every year and the lack of good praxis examples create a need for new research.
The aim of this article is to present the approach to natural resources, especially forests, as to the one of the sustainable competitiveness resources in the long prosperity with the specific focus on its ownership.
First, the article presents the systematic view on sustainable competitiveness, taking into account the development of competitiveness concept in the context of sustainable development.
Second, the article provides an overview of the specific points of the forests ownership practice in the world, some EU Member States and Lithuania.
The existing theoretical views on forest ownership structure differ, but the benefit of forests is generally recognized.
Generally, the science literature and actual political documents' analysis of the specific points of the forests ownership practice in some EU Member States and Lithuania in the context of sustainable competitiveness is followed by the summary of the conclusions.
It is expected that in the future forestry will continue to be valued for the ability to serve a range of economic, environmental, and social functions and growing forests could become the source of growing sustainable competitiveness.
2. Competitiveness versus sustainable development
Being competitive or being only sustainable is easier than being sustainable and competitive at the same time. Despite the fact, what the European Union has the special strategy for sustainable development and the separate new strategy Europe 2020 (2010) (before--Lisbon Strategy) with the specific point to competitiveness, it should be generally recognized the importance of the compatibility of competitiveness and sustainable development. …