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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Visualizing the Forest in a Boreal Forest Landscape—The Perspective of Swedish Municipal Comprehensive Planning

Thellbro, Camilla; Stjernstrom, Olof; Sandstrom, Per; Lidestav, Gun


At the international policy level, there is a clear link between access to information about forests and the work towards sustainable land use. However, involving forests in planning for sustainable development (SuD) at the Swedish local level, by means of municipal comprehensive planning (MCP), is complicated by sector structure and legislation. Currently, there is a gap or hole in the MCP process when it comes to use and access to knowledge about forest conditions and forest land use. This hole limits the possibilities to formulate well-informed municipal visions and goals for sustainable forest land use as well as for overall SuD. Here we introduce an approach for compilation and presentation of geographic information to increase the preconditions for integrating forest information into Swedish MCP. We produce information about forest ownership patterns and forest conditions in terms of age and significant ecological and social values in forests for a case study municipality. We conclude that it is possible to effectively compile geographic and forest-related information to fill the hole in the municipal land use map. Through our approach, MCP could be strengthened as a tool for overall land use planning and hence as a base in SuD planning.


sustainable development; municipal comprehensive planning; forest data assimilation; forest change analysis; non-industrial private forest owners; forest values

Published in

2017, Volume: 8, number: 6, article number: 189
Publisher: MDPI AG