Barriers to expanding continuous cover forestry in Sweden for delivering multiple ecosystem services
Summary, in English
Sweden has the largest forest cover in the European Union, and for decades, Sweden's forest industry has pursued intensive forest management through tree plantations and clear-cutting in order to maximize wood production. The Swedish forestry sector is increasingly under pressure to transition away from intensive clear-cut forest management, but other forest management models are still a niche in Sweden’s forest management and face barriers in their wider uptake. We use transition theory and the multi-level perspective framework to analyse the dynamics within the Swedish forestry sector, and investigate the barriers that actors practicing and promoting Continuous Cover Forestry in Sweden face. We identify culture, forestry education, industrial networks and timber markets as domains where there is a mismatch between Continuous Cover Forestry and the current clear-cut forest management. Our analysis shows that the limited uptake of Continuous Cover Forestry in Sweden has explanations that go far beyond the lack of knowledge and ecological limitations that it is often associated with. Thus, we conclude that research and policy-making need to account for these diverse explanations and address the power and social dimensions associated with competing forest management models for building multi-functional forest ecosystems in the future.