Passing down the forest problem: A case of collaborative governance in Swedish forest policy

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Sammanfattning: In transitioning to a sustainable society and ensuring a growing bioeconomy, a National Forest Programme (NFP) has been adopted in Sweden. In order to meet the goals set out in the NFP, forest programs have been decentralized to regional authorities in which collaborative governance should be the guiding instrument. This thesis investigates the effectiveness of new forms of decentralization, through the unexplored case of the Regional Forest Program in Norrbotten. The politicized IAD framework has been adopted to answer to what extent collaborative governance manages to address issues of polarization and sustainability conflicts characterizing Swedish forest management. Based on stakeholder interviews and official documents, the study explores how aspects of power, context and institutions interact in producing certain outcomes, such as imbalances in rule enforcement and power relations. Results show discrepancies between policy intentions and outcomes. The use of collaborative governance has resulted in policy confusion, characterized by a lack of coordination and capacity in dealing with forest conflicts. Prevailing production discourses with storylines on ‘multifunctionality’ have reinforced power asymmetries and polarization. The study concludes by providing policy recommendations focusing on how to improve collaboration, specifically by emphasizing a greater responsibility for state authorities.

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