Skip to main content
Doctoral thesis, 2017

Forest management and governance in Sweden

Wallin, Ida


The transition to a sustainable society requires improved knowledge about what determines forest management and the relationship to governance and policies. This thesis constitutes a phronetic analysis of social practices in forest management at the local level and of how social practices materialise and influence forest governance and ultimately, forest management more broadly. Social practices are used as the object of study in the synthesising analysis of empirical findings in Papers I-IV. In doing so, tension-points have been identified and problematized. The research has applied a case study approach from local to national and European levels. Identified social practices, relevant for determining actual forest management are mainly: personal relationships and trust towards professional forest advisors and purchasers; upholding and respecting local social values through discussing forest management with neighbours; intergenerational socialisation in relation to one’s own forest creating emotional bonds with the forest and across generations; and a rural life-style including hard work and diverse businesses. The identified tension-points include: i) two partially competing logics of practice: the traditional versus the professional logic where the latter is perceived by the former as a threat to local social values and, ii) a tendency of local social practices to streamline rather than to diversify forest management. From a policy-making perspective, trying to balance the different services from the forest, ways to address both logics of practice and the diversification of social practices should be explored. Especially, trusted advisors are a major factor determining forest management and policy outcomes. Current evolving practices of outreach strategies towards forest owners that decrease personal contact run the risk of eroding valuable social capital. Participatory and collaborative forest governance efforts could build on the strong social capital and willingness to cooperate found at the local level. Power structures embedded between governance levels and among local stakeholders should, however, not be underestimated and more research into the pre-conditions for collaboration is needed. Social practices as the object of study provides a promising path for future studies in order to find effective policy solutions.


multi-level governance; forest policy; forest ownership; forest planning; phronesis; participatory action research; boundary object; social capital

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2017, number: 2017:15
ISBN: 978-91-576-8803-3, eISBN: 978-91-576-8804-0
Publisher: Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified

URI (permanent link to this page)