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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Nature conservation management in voluntary set-aside forests in Sweden: practices, incentives and barriers

Gronlund, Orjan; Erlandsson, Emanuel; Djupstrom, Line; Bergstrom, Dan; Eliasson, Lars


In Sweden, there is a lack of knowledge about nature conservation management (NCM) practices in voluntary set-aside forests. Estimates indicate that, for unknown reasons, only a small proportion of the NCM needed is carried out. The aims of this study are to (1) describe current practices for NCM of voluntary set-aside areas in Sweden and (2) identify factors affecting whether NCM of these areas is carried out. Twenty-seven semi-structured interviews were held with professional forestry practitioners and the responses analysed applying thematic analysis. NCM in Sweden generally has two main aims: (1) creation of dead wood and (2) promotion of domestic broadleaf tree species. Simplified, these aims are attained through removal of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.). The decision to implement NCM is influenced by few incentives and many barriers. Incentives include certification scheme obligations and commitment from dedicated individuals, while barriers include weak internal company incentives, the experienced or anticipated risk of high costs, and experienced or anticipated criticism from internal company experts or public actors. Based on the results, a set of managerial implications was drawn up, aimed at increasing the extent of NCM.


Forest conservation; forest certification; FSC; PEFC; qualitative data; thematic analysis

Published in

Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research
2020, Volume: 35, number: 1-2, pages: 96-107