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Licentiate thesis, 2013

The role of forests in Swedish media responses to climate change

Sjöstedt, Viveca

Abstract

Forest policy making depends on the perceptions of forests in the media. Media affects different parts of the policy process, e.g. the formulation and the implementation of policies. Departing from Habermas' description of media as mobilising and grouping relevant issues (2006) the thesis explores the perceptions of forests at the case of climate change in mass media and sectoral media. Climate change is one of the global challenges that are expected to affect forest use, as forests are connected to both mitigation and adaptation. To capture the perceptions of forests in the media, frame analysis is used in this thesis. Two analyses are carried out; first a quantitative analysis focusing on the mobilisation of the forest-climate nexus in mass media and second a qualitative analysis focusing on the cognitive integration of bioenergy policy in the agricultural, energy and forest sectors. The three sectors were chosen for their connections to the production of bioenergy. The policy on bioenergy is analysed as it is considered part of Swedish climate policy. The results show that forests in relation to climate change are perceived differently in the two analyses. The quantitative frame analysis of mass media inspired by Benford & Snow (2000) shows that forests are framed as a victim of climate change. This can be compared to the qualitative frame analysis á la Schön & Rein (1994) applied to the debate on bioenergy from forest products in sectoral media where bioenergy is framed primarily as an economic opportunity. The difference in how forests are framed can result from the media format or the issue as such (bioenergy or forest-climate change nexus). The support of climate policies and the strength of the different roles of forests in the analysis are difficult to compare as the results are obtained through different analyses. However, the results show that forests are perceived as an economic opportunity and as a part of nature. The diverging perceptions of forests in climate change require policy making processes that are able to handle these frame conflicts.

Keywords

forest policy; media; frame analysis; bioenergy; policy integration; mobilisation

Published in

Rapport (SLU, Institutionen för skogens produkter)
2013, number: 22
ISBN: 978-91-576-9188-0, eISBN: 978-91-576-9189-7
Publisher: Department of Forest Products, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Sjöstedt, Viveca
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Products

UKÄ Subject classification

Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/51882