Published 2017-10-31

This post is also available in Swedish

Future Forests wants to move debate forward

The Mistra programme Future Forests, which has lived on since its completion as one of the four platforms for the future at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), is now producing five films to spread knowledge about the choices that need to be made about Swedish forests.

For eight years, researchers in the Mistra programme Future Forests investigated prospects for the future sustainability of this country’s forests. One idea was that further knowledge might help the programme to reconcile various interests in productive forestry, nature conservation, recreation and reindeer husbandry.

Now that Future Forests is carrying on as a platform at SLU, its participants want to stay in the debate. This is the context in which the films were produced.

Annika Nordin, former Programme Manager, says an intense debate about forests in Sweden is under way.

‘The various interests may seem further apart from one another than before. Quite simply, they don’t agree. And they all use climate change as an argument for their cause. This applies both to the parties who want to preserve the forest for nature conservation and those who want to fell it for production of renewable materials and energy.’

‘Our idea is to make a statement in that debate, giving it some fuel in the form of knowledge. We feel there’s a need to talk about the forest.’

The five films, two of which have already been launched, are between seven and ten minutes long. They are about five aspects of forests: change, greater variation, climate considerations, social values and waters.

Short clips from the films, posted on Facebook, have attracted many comments. Some are quite critical, posing new demands for researchers who may not be used to defending themselves on social media.

‘But it’s a good way of getting us to talk about the forest,’ says Annika Nordin.

Text: Thomas Heldmark