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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Understanding consistencies and gaps between desired forest futures: An analysis of visions from stakeholder groups in Sweden

Sandström, Camilla; Carlsson-Kanyama, Annika; Beland Lindahl, Karin; Sonnek, Karin Mossberg; Mossing, Annika; Nordin, Annika; Nordström, Eva-Maria; Räty, Riitta


Conflicting perspectives on forests has for a long time challenged forest policy development in Sweden. Disagreements about forest futures create intractable deadlocks when stakeholders talk past each other. The purpose of this study is to move beyond this situation through the application of participatory backcasting. By comparing visions of the future forest among stakeholder groups, we highlight contemporary trajectories and identify changes that were conceived as desirable. We worked with four groups: the Biomass and Bioenergy group, the Conservation group, the Sami Livelihood group and the Recreation and Rural Development group; in total representatives from 40 organizations participated in workshops articulating the groups' visions. Our results show well-known tensions such as intrinsic versus instrumental values but also new ones concerning forests' social values. Identified synergies include prioritization of rural development, new valued-added forest products and diversified forest management. The results may feed directly into forest policy processes facilitating the process and break current deadlocks.


Backcasting; Conflicts; Forest policy; Frames; Governance

Published in

AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment
2016, volume: 45, number: Suppl 2, pages: S100–S108

Authors' information

Sandström, Camilla
Umeå University
Carlsson-Kanyama, Annika
Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI)
Beland Lindahl, Karin
Luleå University of Technology
Sonnek, Karin Mossberg
Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Division of Communication
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Resource Management
Räty, Riitta
Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI)

Associated SLU-program

Future Forests (until Jan 2017)
SLU Future Forests

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)