492.7 Intensive forestry in Sweden. Risk governance in practice?

Friday, August 3, 2012: 11:39 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Rolf LIDSKOG , Department of sociology, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden
Ann-Sofie KALL , Oslo University, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, Oslo, Norway
Per SANDIN , Dept of Plant Physiology and Forest Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
Göran SUNDQVIST , Centre for tecnology, innovation and culture, Olso university, Oslo, Norway
Stig LARSSON , Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
In 2008, the Swedish government commissioned an investigation concerning the possibilities of more intensive silvicultural practices, such as increased use of fertilizers, improved genetic material, introduction of exotic tree species, and use of fast-growing deciduous species. The commission concluded that intensive forestry was associated by substantial environmental risks, but that these risks could be traded against its effects on mitigating climate change. The commission’s report received very different responses; not only environmental organizations, but also the Swedish Forest Agency were critical to the proposal, whereas forest industry, forest owners and the Swedish environmental protection agency were positive to it.

This paper investigates how risks and uncertainties are used in the actors’ strategy for promoting or opposing the proposal for intensive forestry. It takes recent trends within risk governance as point of departure, where both the importance of actors and context are emphasized. This means that what is seen as trusted and effective regulation is not only dependent on actors strategies but of political culture, national regulatory style and policy area. Risk governance also includes an awareness of the need to include how stakeholders understand and evaluate the issue at stake, with the aim to thereby develop a social robust regulation, that is, regulation that is scientific informed, political viable and public trusted.

The empirical analysis shows that central difference in evaluation of the proposal concerns the size of positive benefits (climate change) and to what extent it was seen possible to handle risks and uncertainties associated with intensive forestry. However, on a general level this process also opens up a space for strategic as well as deliberative action, where the government before its decision got informed on how actors’ understood and evaluate the issue at stake.