Research about small scale forest owners is often dominated by a focus on forest owner's professions. The sources of their income are expected to explain why people use their forest in the way they do it. Studies throughout Central Europe show that only a minority of the forest owners are still full-time farmers. Due to the increased mobility, many forest owners now live in cities, where they are engaged in urban lifestyles. The use of the forests by such urban-oriented forest owners might be better explained by the specific features of such urban lifestyles rather than the classical features of income and social status. Therefore, the article describes the lifestyle concept in a theoretical way and gives an outlook on the assumed situation of forest owners in Germany. It is discussed whether better understanding of forest owner lifestyles may promote policy extension within the forestry sector. Empirical evidence is drawn from two studies in the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg about the effect of changes in lifestyles on forest management. The first study analyses characteristics of one specific lifestyle, the farm forest owners in the Central Black Forest. It describes almost homogeneous social structures characterised by the identification via profession, roots in the region, low mobility and a high demand for independence. On the basis of some examples, a possibility to derive prognoses from the data is suggested. Furthermore, the output of the study is compared with the results of a survey that covered the situation of small scale forest owners in a much larger area integrating urban and rural regions. This second study gains a general overview on forest owner lifestyles in Baden-Wuerttemberg. It aims to classify forest owners by their urban orientation. The characteristics that were selected for the construction of a specific scale of urban orientation illustrate the extent in which their lifestyles can be considered as being urban-based. Therefore, the lifestyle ‘full-time farm forester’ can be compared with others with respect to the size of the group, its homogeneity and the average degree of urbanity.