Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Policy change implications for forest water protection in Sweden over the last 50 years

Hasselquist, Eliza Maher; Mancheva, Irina; Eckerberg, Katarina; Laudon, Hjalmar


Improving water quality has become an important environmental issue, spurred in part by the Water Framework Directive. However, the relationship of policy change with forest water protection measures is relatively unknown. We analyzed how policy and practice have developed in Sweden using 50 years of historic data from the Krycklan Catchment Study, focusing on riparian buffers. Corresponding to legislation, education and voluntary measures emphasizing stream protection, two step changes occurred; between the 1970s-1980s, buffers increased by 67%, then by 100% between 1990s and 2000s. By 2013, just 50% of the stream length affected by forestry was protected and the application has varied by stream size; small streams lacked a buffer approximately 65% of the time, while 90% of large streams had buffers. The doubling of buffer implementation from the 1990s-2000s corresponded to the adoption of a number of environmental protection policies in the 1990s that all came into effect during this period.


Forest water; Policy change; Protection zone; Riparian buffer; Riparian reserves; Water quality

Published in

AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment
2020, Volume: 49, pages: 1341-1351
Publisher: SPRINGER