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Research article2014Peer reviewedOpen access

Understanding risk in forest ecosystem services: implications for effective risk management, communication and planning

Blennow, Kristina; Persson, Johannes; Wallin, Annika; Vareman, Niklas; Persson, Erik


Uncertainty, insufficient information or information of poor quality, limited cognitive capacity and time, along with value conflicts and ethical considerations, are all aspects that make risk management and risk communication difficult. This paper provides a review of different risk concepts and describes how these influence risk management, communication and planning in relation to forest ecosystem services. Based on the review and results of empirical studies, we suggest that personal assessment of risk is decisive in the management of forest ecosystem services. The results are used together with a review of different principles of the distribution of risk to propose an approach to risk communication that is effective as well as ethically sound. Knowledge of heuristics and mutual information on both beliefs and desires are important in the proposed risk communication approach. Such knowledge provides an opportunity for relevant information exchange, so that gaps in personal knowledge maps can be filled in and effective risk communication can be promoted.

Published in

2014, Volume: 87, number: 2, pages: 219-228