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Doctoral thesis, 2011

Geographic Information Systems as a tool to support monitoring and assessment of landscape and regional sustainability

Andersson, Kjell


New policies in Sweden about intensive forestry and functional green infrastructure require involvement of different sectors for planning of landscapes and regions. However, Sweden has no territorial land-use planning at these spatial scales. Landowners, municipalities and regional governments work separately to implement policies about sustainability. There is thus a growing need for integrated spatial planning, and thus assessments of sustainability at local to regional levels by comparing monitoring results with norms expressed in policies. The aim of this thesis is to analyse and visualise such data using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to enhance comprehensive spatial planning approaches for cooperation between different planning sectors. In paper I, habitat functionality was modelled for area-demanding focal species’ requirements in five coarse forest types. Also clear-felling rates within and outside functional habitats for each of four forest owner categories were measured. The differences among landowner categories concerning planning for ecological values were linked to how biodiversity-friendly their policies were. Papers II and III analyses how forest management affects two endangered species, and show that GIS-based proxy variables can be used to predict occurrence of both terrestrial and aquatic focal species. Paper IV assesses how Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) contributes to biodiversity conservation in Sweden and Russia. Analyses of structural connectivity and habitat functionality show that the minimum standard in FSC set-asides is not compatible with higher levels of ambition to maintain biodiversity. Paper V explores how planners, locals and tourists perceive landscape values, and how these can be interpreted and used in spatial planning. Paper VI demonstrates a zoning approach to identify green infrastructures and areas suitable for intensive forestry. In paper VII indicators for ecological, economical and socio-cultural values were summarised to compare municipalities’ sustainability. To conclude, there are large opportunities for analysing and visualising data to support integrated spatial planning about sustainability using GIS. However, there is a need for new education programs including all dimensions of sustainability in combination with use of GIS.


geographical information systems; landscape; monitoring; regional policies; planning; sustainability; infrastructure; sweden; russian federation

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2011, number: 2011:92
ISBN: 978-91-576-7636-8
Publisher: School for Forest Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Andersson, Kjell
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, School for Forest Management

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Management
Forest Science

URI (permanent link to this page)