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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Combining scientific and local knowledge improves evaluating future scenarios of forest ecosystem services

Hallberg-Sramek, Isabella; Nordstrom, Eva-Maria; Priebe, Janina; Reimerson, Elsa; Marald, Erland; Nordin, Annika


Forest scenario analysis can help tackle sustainability issues by generating insight into the potential long-term effects of present-day management. In northern Sweden, forests provide important benefits including climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation, reindeer husbandry, local livelihoods, and recreation. Informed by local stakeholders' views on how forests can be enabled to deliver these benefits, we created four forest management scenarios: the close-to-nature scenario (CTN) which emphasises biodiversity conservation, the classic management scenario (CLA) optimising the forests' net present value, the intensified scenario (INT) maximising harvested wood from the forest, and the combined scenario (COM) applying a combination of measures from the CTN and INT. The scenarios were applied to the local forest landscape and modelled over a 100-year simulation period, and the results of the modelling were then evaluated by a diverse group of stakeholders. For most ecosystem services, there was a time lag of 10-50 years before noticeable effects and differences between the scenarios became evident, highlighting the need to consider both the short- and long-term effects of forest management. Evaluation by the stakeholders put the modelled results into a local context. They raised considerations relating to wildlife and hunting, climate change risks, social acceptability, and conflict, highlighting the value of evaluating the scenarios qualitatively as well as quantitatively. Overall, stakeholders thought that the CTN and CLA scenarios promoted more ecosystem services and posed fewer climate risks, while also creating less conflict among stakeholders. Our results emphasise the value of combining scientific and local knowledge when developing and evaluating future forest scenarios.


Forest management; Stakeholder participation; Scenario modelling; Knowledge co -production; Inter; and transdisciplinary research; Indigenous and local knowledge

Published in

Ecosystem Services
2023, Volume: 60, article number: 101512
Publisher: ELSEVIER