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Contested boreal landscapes – consequences of different forest management priorities
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
Department of Forest Resource Management, Swedish University of Agriculture.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

When managing natural resources, the requirements of several stakeholders often need to be considered, as their competing aims and interests need to be delivered in different ways. Agreeing on trade-offs and finding optimal solutions is often a demanding task, particularly if the actions of one land user make it difficult for others to utilize natural resources in a specific way.In this case study, we explore the consequences of two different forest management scenarios on forest characteristics and economic gains in two particular study areas in the Swedish boreal forest. The management strategies differ by prioritizing either i) forest characteristics that sustain reindeer grazing or ii) timber production as practiced in Swedish forestry today. However, simplifications that affect our models include the assumption of only one landowner and a management focus on the stand level. Further, we do not evaluate the direct consequences of the two scenarios on reindeer husbandry, as only selected parts of the winter grazing grounds are considered.Depending on the management strategy, forest characteristics differ, e.g. the composition of age classes or timber volume. Compared to management for timber production, forests managed for reindeer grazing are characterized by a higher abundance of older age classes with larger trees, but lower stem density. We found that, over a 100 year period, these forest characteristics generated revenues of approximately 80 % of those resulting from management focused on timber production.These differences and their resulting consequences illustrate the contrasting preferences for particular forest characteristics of the two land users. However, to understand them as principles for potential trade-offs, they have to be interpreted carefully in relation to the range of possible management options available to achieve sustainability in the multiple-use situation of Swedish boreal forests, as well as to enhance their cultural and biological value.

Keyword [en]
multiple use management, trade-off, land use conflict, reindeer herding, forestry
National Category
Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-66374OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-66374DiVA: diva2:606340
Funder
Formas
Available from: 2013-02-19 Created: 2013-02-19 Last updated: 2013-02-20
In thesis
1. Contested Landscapes: social-ecological interactions between forestry and reindeer husbandry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Contested Landscapes: social-ecological interactions between forestry and reindeer husbandry
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Throughout northern Fennoscandia, reindeer husbandry is a central part in the cultural heritage of the Sámi people. In its history, Sámi culture and reindeer husbandry have undergone significant adaptations to environmental, social and political challenges. Landscape changes on the winter grazing grounds were mainly driven by resource exploitation, especially by industrialized forestry. Important grazing resources were lost, i.e. terrestrial and arboreal lichens that constitute essential key elements in the herding year.

In my thesis, I explore the consequences of these transformations in Swedish boreal forests for reindeer husbandry. The multi-disciplinary approach integrates interview studies, ecological fieldwork and theoretical modeling of forest development.

I emphasize the understanding of landscapes as multi-dimensional concepts with ecological, social and economic components. They interact in determining the amount of landscape fragmentation in physical or administrative ways, or in enabling reindeer herders to move between different landscape elements. These elements, e.g. forest stands of different ages, can react differently to winter weather. Thus, they enable reindeer herders to adjust their grazing grounds according to the availability of forage, mediated by snow conditions. However, forestry practices have reduced the abundance of old-growth forests, and therewith the functionality of the landscape. By comparing snow conditions in different forest types, I show that multi-layered canopies can offer a more diverse pattern of snow hardness. However, the interaction between forest characteristics with snow is strongly dependent on weather conditions, e.g. the timing and intensity of warm spells. The prevalence of single-layered forest stands therefore can lead to a reduction in snow variability and potentially restricts the availability of suitable grazing grounds for reindeer. If snow conditions hinder reindeer in foraging on terrestrial lichens, old forests formerly supplied reindeer with arboreal lichens. I show how industrial forestry has reduced the availability of this emergency forage by the reduction of old forests and increased landscape fragmentation and analyze the consequences of different management strategies on future habitat availability for arboreal lichens. By integrating these results into a model of forest management, I offer insights into consequences arising from different priorities that either favor timber production or the development of lichen-rich grazing grounds.

In conclusion, I emphasize the importance of landscape diversity, as well as the ability to make use of this diversity, as a source of adaptability of reindeer husbandry to changes in grazing conditions by e.g. winter weather dynamics. A shared future of reindeer husbandry and forestry could be fostered by encouraging the social-ecological co-evolution of multiple use landscapes and the enhancement of the cultural and biological significance of the Swedish boreal forests.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2013. 35 p.
Keyword
Reindeer husbandry, forestry, adaptive capacity, arboreal lichens, snow, winter pasture, natural resource management, multiple use, land-use conflict, habitat fragmentation
National Category
Ecology Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-66386 (URN)978-91-7459-535-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-03-22, KBC huset, Lilla Hörsalen (KB3A9), Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas
Available from: 2013-03-01 Created: 2013-02-19 Last updated: 2016-11-10Bibliographically approved

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