30 September 2015

Hike with climate scientists in aftermath of forest fire

This year, after last year’s disastrous fire in Västmanland, the Mistra-SWECIA research programme and the Swedish Forestry Association arranged an excursion in and around the area of the fire. The focus for the hike is forestry in a changing climate.

The autumn excursion took place on two days, 16–17 September, and the participants were able to learn about and discuss current knowledge of how forestry is being affected by a changing climate.

‘The forest fire itself was a shattering event, but also a reminder to the forestry sector and society at large that we are vulnerable to climate change,’ says Markku Rummukainen, Mistra-SWECIA’s Programme Director, who helped to arrange the excursion.

During the hike, short lectures in the field alternated with discussions and panel debates addressing various questions. How will society change and what is the role of the forest? How will insurance work after a natural disaster? Are we forgetting some major risk associated with forests? Are there risks and opportunities that we are underestimating? How do we deal with known risks in forestry?

Representatives of the parties in the Riksdag (Swedish Parliament) attended, and the first day closed with a political debate on the role and responsibility of the state in natural disasters.

As well as the Riksdag politicians, the 120 participants also included representatives of companies in the forest industry, forest owners and the government agencies concerned, and also researchers and insurance company staff.

The excursion ended with a panel debate headed by Johan Kuylenstierna, Director of the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEK).

Text: Thomas Heldmark, Vetenskapsjournalisterna

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