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Creating the landscape, one stand at a time : the role of timber buyers in landscape-level planning in southern Sweden

Curtis, Keeli Jo LU (2020) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM02 20201
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
A central tension within forestry is balancing timber production and nature. This tradeoff is important when managing individual stands, but also has effects on biodiversity across spatial and temporal scales. In Sweden, private landowners are officially responsible for forest management, and these decisions are mostly taken at the property or stand level. While ecologists increasingly try to encourage conservation planning at the landscape level, practically, biodiversity is ‘conserved’ with even smaller retention areas within individual properties. By managing forests and subsequently biodiversity at lower spatial levels, largely without regard to surrounding forest properties, the landscape can be degraded through ‘the tyranny of small... (More)
A central tension within forestry is balancing timber production and nature. This tradeoff is important when managing individual stands, but also has effects on biodiversity across spatial and temporal scales. In Sweden, private landowners are officially responsible for forest management, and these decisions are mostly taken at the property or stand level. While ecologists increasingly try to encourage conservation planning at the landscape level, practically, biodiversity is ‘conserved’ with even smaller retention areas within individual properties. By managing forests and subsequently biodiversity at lower spatial levels, largely without regard to surrounding forest properties, the landscape can be degraded through ‘the tyranny of small decisions.’
Existing research on forest management focuses on characteristics of landowners, but they do not make management decisions alone. An unexplored factor is the influence of timber buyers on those management decisions. Timber buyers (TBs) are important because they are directly involved in planning and management over long time periods in a given area. In this thesis, I ask, what are the roles of TBs? How do their decisions at the stand level impact the landscape level? How do their spatial competence and technical capabilities relate to other actors, and what does that mean for policy?
To understand their role, I conducted semi-structured interviews with TBs, asking primarily about the data they use, relationships with landowners, and their perception of the forests they work in. With a qualitative content analysis, I first describe their role, then interpret how it relates to the creation of the landscape and effects on biodiversity. I see potential to position TBs as critical leverage points in the implementation of coordinated forest management that creates a diverse, multi-functional landscape.
I use Hägerstrand’s nested domains as a conceptual framework to illustrate the spatial competence and technical capabilities of TBs, especially in relation to forest owners and the Swedish Forest Agency. Results suggest that TBs have access to extensive data, but primarily use information about the property level. TBs have greater spatial competence and technical capabilities than landowners, but lack incentives to actively apply a landscape perspective. However, TBs have contributed to successes in forest management in recent years, and they build long-term, trusted relationships with landowners. These characteristics of TBs could be a starting point for conversations about future forest management which contributes to timber production, climate change mitigation, and conservation of biodiversity at the landscape level. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Ett centralt problem i skogsbruket är att balansera mål för natur och produktion. Den avvägningen är inte bara viktigt på beståndsivå, utan det är även viktigt för att tänka på biologisk mångfald och ekosystemtjänster på landskapsnivå. I Sverige, har privata skogsägare ett eget ansvar för skogsbruk, och dem tar beslut om skötsel främst på fastighets- eller beståndsnivå. I skogsbruket sker idag naturvården i små hänsynsytor på beståndsnivå. Att fokusera skogsskötsel och biologisk mångfald på lägre spatiella nivå kan led till habitatfragmentering. Därför har forskningen i ekologi börjat fokusera mer på landskapsnivå. I min forskning ser jag att det här problemet som ett exempel på vad Odum och Kahn benämner, ‘the tyranny of small decisions’ ... (More)
Ett centralt problem i skogsbruket är att balansera mål för natur och produktion. Den avvägningen är inte bara viktigt på beståndsivå, utan det är även viktigt för att tänka på biologisk mångfald och ekosystemtjänster på landskapsnivå. I Sverige, har privata skogsägare ett eget ansvar för skogsbruk, och dem tar beslut om skötsel främst på fastighets- eller beståndsnivå. I skogsbruket sker idag naturvården i små hänsynsytor på beståndsnivå. Att fokusera skogsskötsel och biologisk mångfald på lägre spatiella nivå kan led till habitatfragmentering. Därför har forskningen i ekologi börjat fokusera mer på landskapsnivå. I min forskning ser jag att det här problemet som ett exempel på vad Odum och Kahn benämner, ‘the tyranny of small decisions’

Det finns mycket forskning i Sverige som fokuserar på skogsägare, och deras egenskaper och prioriteringar i skogsbruket, men skogsägare tar inte beslut om skogsskötsel ensam. En faktor som är inte väl förstådd är relation mellan virkesköpare och skogsägare. Virkesköpare är viktiga eftersom dem är direkt inblandad i planering och beslutsprocessen i skogsbruk, ofta under längre perioder i samma området. I mitt arbete har jag fokuserat på följande frågor:
● Hur beskriver virkesköpare deras egen roll?
● Hur kan deras beslut på beståndsnivå påverka landskapet?
● Hur är deras ‘spatial competence’ och ‘technical capabilities’ relaterad till andra aktörer, och varför kan det vara ett viktigt redskap för policy?

För att förstår virkesköparens roll, gjorde jag semi-structured intervjuer med nio olika virkesköpare. De beskrev informationen dem använder på jobbet, relationer med skogsägare, och hur dem ser på skogen dem jobbar i. Jag analyserade intervjuerna kvalitativt genom att beskriva deras roll och tolka hur detta kan ha effekter på landskapsnivån. Jag använde Torsten Hägerstrands koncept ‘nested domains’ för att förstår virkesköparens ‘spatial competence’ och ‘technical capabilities.’ Jag jämförde virkesköpares ‘spatial competence’ med skogsägares och Skogsstyrelsens.

Mina resultat visar på att virkesköpare ha tillgång till mycket information över hela inköpsområdet och har kontakt med hundratals skogsägare. Det tyder på att virkesköpare har högra ‘spatial competence’ än skogsägare. Virkesköpare fokusera på skötsel på beståndsnivå eftersom det inte finns något incitament att aktivt använda ett landskapsperspektiv. Deras starka, långsiktiga relation mellan skogsägare gör dem till viktiga aktörer. Därför tror jag att virkesköpare kan användas för att integrera ett landskapsperspektiv i skogsbruket. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Curtis, Keeli Jo LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM02 20201
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
landscape, forestry, biodiversity, cross-scale interactions, Hägerstrand, conservation, Sustainability Science
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2020:012
language
English
id
9011495
date added to LUP
2020-06-08 11:12:24
date last changed
2020-06-08 11:12:24
@misc{9011495,
  abstract     = {A central tension within forestry is balancing timber production and nature. This tradeoff is important when managing individual stands, but also has effects on biodiversity across spatial and temporal scales. In Sweden, private landowners are officially responsible for forest management, and these decisions are mostly taken at the property or stand level. While ecologists increasingly try to encourage conservation planning at the landscape level, practically, biodiversity is ‘conserved’ with even smaller retention areas within individual properties. By managing forests and subsequently biodiversity at lower spatial levels, largely without regard to surrounding forest properties, the landscape can be degraded through ‘the tyranny of small decisions.’ 
Existing research on forest management focuses on characteristics of landowners, but they do not make management decisions alone. An unexplored factor is the influence of timber buyers on those management decisions. Timber buyers (TBs) are important because they are directly involved in planning and management over long time periods in a given area. In this thesis, I ask, what are the roles of TBs? How do their decisions at the stand level impact the landscape level? How do their spatial competence and technical capabilities relate to other actors, and what does that mean for policy? 
To understand their role, I conducted semi-structured interviews with TBs, asking primarily about the data they use, relationships with landowners, and their perception of the forests they work in. With a qualitative content analysis, I first describe their role, then interpret how it relates to the creation of the landscape and effects on biodiversity. I see potential to position TBs as critical leverage points in the implementation of coordinated forest management that creates a diverse, multi-functional landscape. 
I use Hägerstrand’s nested domains as a conceptual framework to illustrate the spatial competence and technical capabilities of TBs, especially in relation to forest owners and the Swedish Forest Agency. Results suggest that TBs have access to extensive data, but primarily use information about the property level. TBs have greater spatial competence and technical capabilities than landowners, but lack incentives to actively apply a landscape perspective. However, TBs have contributed to successes in forest management in recent years, and they build long-term, trusted relationships with landowners. These characteristics of TBs could be a starting point for conversations about future forest management which contributes to timber production, climate change mitigation, and conservation of biodiversity at the landscape level.},
  author       = {Curtis, Keeli Jo},
  keyword      = {landscape,forestry,biodiversity,cross-scale interactions,Hägerstrand,conservation,Sustainability Science},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {Creating the landscape, one stand at a time : the role of timber buyers in landscape-level planning in southern Sweden},
  year         = {2020},
}