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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Sectoral policies cause incoherence in forest management and ecosystem service provisioning

Blattert, Clemens; Eyvindson, Kyle; Hartikainen, Markus; Burgas, Daniel; Potterf, Maria; Lukkarinen, Jani; Snall, Tord; Torano-Caicoya, Astor; Monkkonen, Mikko


Various national policies guide forest use, but often with competing policy objectives leading to divergent management paradigms. Incoherent policies may negatively impact the sustainable provision of forest ecosystem services (FES), and forest multifunctionality. There is uncertainty among policymakers about the impacts of policies on the real world. We translated the policy documents of Finland into scenarios including the quantitative demands for FES, representing: the national forest strategy (NFS), the biodiversity strategy (BDS), and the bioeconomy strategy (BES). We simulated a Finland-wide systematic sample of forest stands with alternative management regimes and climate change. Finally, we used multi-objective optimization to identify the combination of management regimes matching best with each policy scenario and analysed their long-term effects on FES.The NFS scenario proved to be the most multifunctional, targeting the highest number of FES, while the BES had the lowest FES targets. However, the NFS was strongly oriented towards the value chain of wood and bioenergy and had a dominating economic growth target, which caused strong within-policy conflicts and hindered reaching biodiversity targets. The BDS and BES scenarios were instead more consistent but showed either sustainability gaps in terms of providing timber resources (BDS) or no improvements in forest biodiversity (BES). All policy scenarios resulted in forest management programs dominated by continuous cover forestry, set-aside areas, and intensive management zones, with proportions depending on the policy focus. Our results highlight for the first time the conflicts among national sectoral policies in terms of management requirements and effects on forest multifunctionality. The outcomes provide leverage points for policymakers to increase coherence among future policies and improve implementation of multiple uses of forests.


Forest policy; Ecosystem services; Biodiversity; Multi-objective optimization; Forest management; Climate change

Published in

Forest Policy and Economics
2022, Volume: 136, article number: 102689
Publisher: ELSEVIER

    Associated SLU-program

    SLU Forest Damage Center

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG15 Life on land
    SDG13 Climate action
    SDG16 Peace, justice and strong institutions

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