19 June 2012

Sustainable Management in the Mountain Region (Mountain Mistra)

The programme ended in 2006.

More knowledge of the mountain region and new meeting places for stakeholders

Sweden’s mountain region has low biodiversity and is vulnerable to overexploitation. The land is used in numerous ways, by many stakeholders with interests that sometimes conflict. It is used by reindeer owners for winter grazing, by forest owners, for tourism, and by the local population for hunting and fishing. Should land be allocated for the mining industry, or should it be a national park? What are people’s attitudes towards predators? How should the various interests be balanced for long-term development of the mountain region? The Mountain Mistra Programme (MMP) created a knowledge base for a common view of resource conservation.

What results has the programme had?

Research in MMP enhanced knowledge of stakeholder attitudes. For example, a major questionnaire with more than 100 questions, ranging from views on national parks to frequency of eating game meat, was sent to 12,000 people. An extensive network organisation was created to bring together the various stakeholders in the region: forest owners, Sami villagers, the Swedish Touring Club, Swedish Forest Agency, county administrative boards and more. Annual conferences on mountain research were held in such places as Gällivare, Luleå and Vilhelmina. Several surveys were conducted, on subjects including winter grazing access, national parks and local influence. The programme also compiled inventories of small game on state-owned land.

Who has benefited from the results?

The research has been useful for permanent inhabitants of the mountain region, those who work there in some way and researchers in the field in Sweden and abroad.

The programme identified four primary groups of users:

  • Business owners and commercial organisations (in reindeer husbandry, tourism and forest industry)
  • Administrative agencies (such as county administrative boards, state-owned enterprises, the Sami Parliament in Sweden, forestry organisations, decision-making bodies and current commissions of inquiry)
  • Mountain municipalities and interest organisations (such as hunting and fishery management associations, and organisations connected with tourism, outdoor recreation and snowmobiles).

‘Mountain Mistra focused on conflicting aims regarding natural resources in the mountain region. Thanks to the programme, the Wildlife Management Division obtained several necessary answers, on issues like people’s attitudes towards predators.’

Susanna Löfgren, former head of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency’s Wildlife Management Division.


Programme period: 1998–2006

Funding: Mistra invested SEK 84 million

Programme host: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Umeå)

Programme director: Tomas Willebrand, SLU Umeå

Executive committee chair: Sören Ekström

Scale: a total of 40 people, including 35 researchers, were involved. Seven doctoral students obtained their PhDs and numerous students also carried out their degree projects in Mountain Mistra. In addition, a large contact network and various reference groups for specific conflict issues came into being. The research was collected in academic articles and, for example, The International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management devoted an entire issue to the Mountain Mistra Programme (Vol. 2, No. 4, December 2006). During the course of MMP, popular science newsletters were published and widely disseminated.

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