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Adaptation of forest management to climate change among private individual forest owners in Sweden

Blennow, Kristina
Forest policy and economics 2012 v.24 pp. 41-47
climate, climate change, disasters, drought, forest management, forests, fungi, insects, issues and policy, questionnaires, risk, risk factors, risk reduction, wind damage, Sweden
Available climate change scenarios indicate that climate change will affect elements of the Swedish climate, and that the exposure and sensitivity of the forest to climate change will differ between regions. Adaptation to climate change is conceptually closely linked to the reduction of the risk of disasters. Based on contemporary theory in behavioural risk research, the aim was to improve the knowledge on the process of adaptation of forest management to climate change among Swedish private individual forest owners. The responses from two questionnaires from 1999 to 2004, respectively, were analysed. Adaptation of forest management to climate change by private individual forest owners in what is currently the hemiboreal bio-climatic zone of Sweden was quantified and shown to increase over the five year period. In 2004 adaptive measures had been taken on a limited fraction of the forest land owned by private individuals in three study areas located along a latitudinal gradient ranging from the nemoral to the boreal bio-climatic zones in Sweden. Adaptive measures were more frequent in two southern study areas than in a northern study area. Measures taken to adapt were similar in all three study areas, except for those strongly conditioned by the current local climate. Among forest owners who had taken measure to adapt, perceptions of much higher risk due to climate change was more frequent for the risk of damage by wind, drought, fungi, and insects than for other risk factors. Further improvement of the knowledge on how the individual forest owners' learn and perceive of climate change, its impacts on risks and options for adaptation is required to develop and successfully implement adaptive climate change policies.