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Research article2008Peer reviewed

Risk management in Swedish forestry - Policy formation and fulfilment of goals

Blennow, Kristina


The formation of a risk management policy in Swedish forestry and its consequences for fulfilment of goals was analysed. The risk of wind damage was used as a model where an apparent gap between stated accepted risk and extent of risk-reducing measures taken among south Swedish non-industrial private forest owners was used as a starting point. The results of an enquiry, and personal experiences from the debate after an extensive wind damage event in January 2005, were used and complemented study of literature. It was concluded that risks have not been particularly actively managed in the Swedish forestry culture. This was explained by notions of seeing (i) risks such as wind damage as a natural hazard rather than a technological risk that can be modulated, and (ii) forestry as an enterprise free of valuation in which value aspects of risk were neglected. A narrow agenda in Swedish forest research influenced the risk management policy, where forest consultants played an important role as a link between science and practice and between the public and the private. Neither the legislator nor the forestry consultants declared how they weighted risk which reduced the fulfilment of goals. At the national level relaxation of regulations after 1993 has not yet resulted in markedly diversified privately owned forests and spreading of risk as intended, and the management of the risk of wind damage before January 2005 was in many cases not adapted to the risk the individual forest owner was prepared to take. The results were discussed with respect to possibilities for improved fulfilment of goals in Swedish forestry by facilitating more active risk management.


risk communication; risk weighing principle; wind damage; natural hazard; technological risk; trust; livelihood

Published in

Journal of Risk Research
2008, Volume: 11, number: 1-2, pages: 237-254

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science
    Renewable Bioenergy Research
    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

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