With growing demands on forests, there is a need to understand the drivers of managing the forest for diverse objectives, such as production, recreation, and climate adaptation. The aim of this study was to examine the knowledge and value basis of forest management behaviors, including different management strategies and management inactivity, among private forest owners in Sweden. Different dimensions of knowledge (declarative and procedural knowledge, assessed in terms of objective and subjective knowledge measures) and value priorities (basic values and forest values), as well as the role of forest owner identity, were examined. The study was conducted by means of a postal questionnaire to a random sample of private forest owners in Sweden (n?=?3000, response rate 43%). The distinctions between actual knowledge (objective knowledge), confidence (subjective knowledge), and value priorities, in addition to the hierarchical structure of how these factors are linked to management behaviors, proved to be valuable. Results revealed that different knowledge dimensions and value priorities were jointly important for forest management behaviors. In addition, the role of forest owner identity for management behaviors was confirmed. Insights from the study may be used to develop policy and outreach to private forest owners and thereby facilitate different forest functions in private forestry.