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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Envisioning future forested landscapes in Sweden - Revealing local-national discrepancies through participatory action research

Wallin, Ida; Carlsson, Julia; Hansen, Hans Peter


Governance of forested landscapes must account for multiple interests and perspectives through public and stakeholder participation. In the context of Swedish forestry, participation has mainly been implemented as a top-down venture, without adequate integration of all interests. Linking local interests to national policy-making through participatory action research and future-oriented methodologies has not yet been tried in Sweden. We develop and implement a participatory action research model with the objectives to (i) facilitate a discussion among local stakeholders about their common future in relation to their forested landscapes and, (ii) to connect the local level with the national, institutional level. First, local stakeholders are brought together to create commonly desired visions in case studies of two forested landscapes in Sweden. Second, national policy-makers are engaged in a discussion on how to achieve the locally-desired visions. The ability of the two-step participatory action research model to achieve these objectives is then evaluated based on norms of Communicative Action and criteria of participatory planning. The results demonstrate the positive opportunity to engage local stakeholders in a constructive discussion about their common future, but also show some practical constraints of participatory methods, in particular the risk of institutional authorities disregarding local knowledge and claims. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Forest policy; Stakeholders; Institutionalisation; Critical Utopian Action Research; Desired future scenario development

Published in

Forest Policy and Economics
2016, volume: 73, pages: 25-40

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre
Carlsson, Julia
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Resource Management
Hansen, Hans Peter
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development

UKÄ Subject classification

Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified

Publication Identifiers


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