Elvira Caselunghe

I am a social scientist working in the context of environmental and natural resource management. My PhD is in Environmental Communication. During 2021 I am a researcher at CBM in a project about attitudes among environmental NGOs towards forest biofuels.


I am interested in the study of communicative and democratic aspects of nature conservation, environmental and natural resource management. My starting point is that the way people communicate about environment strongly affects the way the environment is dealt with. In many ways, environmental problems are social problems.

In 2021 I work with Johnny de Jong and Gustaf Egnell in the research project Improved dialogue for bioenergy and enhanced creditability for the Swedish bio-economy, funded by the Swedish Energy Agency.

Primary forest biofuels have a central role in transitioning the Swedish and European energy system from fossil based to renewable sources according to the politically set targets in Sweden (100% renewable production by 2040) and EU (32% renewable consumption by 2030). Increased outtake of forest biomass has met resistance from Environmental NGOs and other actors, who fear for instance negative consequences for climate, biodiversity, soil fertility, land use change, food security, and delayed actions for reduced energy consumption. Some of the objectives in our research project are to:

· Explore drivers behind campaigns against forest biofuels, and the knowledge and scientific sources behind

· Find out about the scenarios that the actors base their risk perception and fear on

· Identify possible mechanisms that may prevent negative effects (avoid negative scenarios)

· Specifically study how system boundaries are defined in the argumentation regarding climate impact


I enjoy teaching and have since 2007 been involved in several teaching activities from lecturing and leading seminars, to student supervision, examination and course administration on various courses in Environmental Communication and Nature Interpretation offered at SLU.


The theme of my doctoral thesis was how environmental authorities work with democratic dimensions of communication, and the role of individuals in creating social change within the context of nature conservation management in Sweden.

My thesis built on two different empirical cases that were products of the Swedish 2001 nature conservation policy, which emphasized the democratic aspects of nature conservation. I investigated how two diverse enactments/applications of this policy (implemented through the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency) have expressed different democratic qualities, mainly referring to deliberative democracy and public spheres. I) The potential of a large scale communicative skills development programme (Dialog för naturvården) for educating nature conservation administrators to improve the combining of ecological and democratic conservation targets. II) The deliberative democratic aspects of nature interpretation at Swedish visitors centres (naturum) in protected areas. 

My research approach is inspired by hermeneutics, critical theory and action research methodology and I mainly use qualitative research methods.

I have previously worked with research related to sustainable agriculture, and I also have an interest in the urban-rural divide and its importance for natural resource management.

During 2015-2017 I was a visiting scholar at the Department of Communication at University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.


Before doing research in Environmental Communication, I had a background in Biology and Natural Resource Management, with an MSc in Ecology from SLU (2007). My interest in the society-nature intersection brought me to the field of Environmental Communication already during my MSc thesis work. By doing research in Environmental Communication, I definitely turned into social sciences, although I still have an understanding of natural sciences and the interplay between different knowledge traditions. I have also been employed at the Swedish Centre for Nature Interpretation (Centrum för naturvägledning) at SLU.

Publikationer i urval

Scientific publications

Joosse, S., Powell, S., Bergeå, H., Boehm, S., Calderon, C., Caselunghe, E., Fischer, A., Grubbström, A., Hallgren, L., Holmgren, S., Löf, A., Nordström Källström, H., Raitio, K., Senecah, S., Söderlund Kanarp, C., von Essen, E., Westberg, L., Westin, M. (2020). Critical, engaged and change-oriented scholarship in environmental communication. Six methodological dilemmas to think with. Environmental Communication.

Caselunghe, E., Bergeå, H. & von Essen, E. (2019). Public Spheres for Deliberation on Nature? Democratic Qualities of Visitor Centres in Sweden. Journal of Public Deliberation. 15 (1).

Caselunghe, E. (2018). Deliberations on nature: Swedish cases of communication and democracy within nature conservation. Diss. Uppsala: Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Acta Universitatis agriculturae Sueciae 2018:68.

Book chapters

Hansen, H.P. & Caselunghe, E. (2012). Naturvägledning som demokratiskt forum för framtidsfrågor - ett hållbarhetsperspektiv på naturvägledningen (Nature Interpretation as a democratic space for deliberation on the future – A sustainability perspective). In: Thiel, P. (red) Skapa sammanhang – naturvägledning som lärande för hållbar utveckling. Centrum för naturvägledning.

Conference papers and presentations

Caselunghe, E. & Hansen, H.P. (2015). Communicative skills as entry point to democratic development: Dialogue for nature conservation. Paper presented at NESS 2015 (Nordic Environmental Social Science 2015) 9-11 June in Trondheim, Norway.

Caselunghe, E., Hansen, H.P., Hallgren, L., Sandberg, E. & Bergeå, H. (2015). How can nature interpretation contribute to democratizing landscape? Perspectives from Sweden. Abstract and presentation at Defining Landscape Democracy Conference hosted by CLaD (Centre for Landscape Democracy) 3-6 June in Oslo, Norway.

Caselunghe, E. & Bergeå, H. (2013). A contradictory approach to the right of public access: Exploring relational factors in the case of agritourism. In: Meisner, M.S., Sriskandarajah, N. & Depoe, S.P. (eds). 2013. Communication for the commons. Revisiting Participation and Environment. Proceedings of the 2013 COCE, the 12th biennial Conference on Communication and Environment, Uppsala, Sweden, June 6-11, 2013.

Caselunghe, E. (2011). Forskningsperspektiv på naturvägledning. (Research perspectives on nature interpretation.) Presentation på konferensen Friluftsforskning 2011, Umeå, den 9-10 november.

Bergeå, H., Caselunghe, E. & Nordström Källström, H. (2011). Farmers as legitimate participants within environmental decision making? Downplaying and discursive closure as communicative strategies for meeting farmer initiatives. NESS (Nordic Environmental Social Science Conference). Stockholm. June 2011.

Nordström Källström, H. & Caselunghe, E. (2010). Can social sustainability be measured? Paper presented at Nordic rural futures: pressures and possibilities research conference on the future of Nordic rural areas, May 4, in Uppsala, Sweden.

Caselunghe, E., Nordström Källström, H. & Ahnström, J. (2009). Landscape and Place Concepts Meeting through Encounters with Birdwatchers and Farmers. In: Environmental Communication as Nexus. Proceedings of the 10th Biennial Conference on Communication and the Environment, Pp 355-369. Portland, Maine, USA.


Caselunghe, E., Nordström Källström, H. & Gunnarsdotter, Y. (2019). Indikatorer för socialt hållbar utveckling på landsbygden. Urban and Rural reports 2019:1, Institutionen för stad och land, SLU, Ultuna.

Caselunghe, E. (2012). Forskningsperspektiv på naturvägledning. Rapporter Institutionen för stad och land 3/2012.

Arnell, A., Caselunghe, E., Hultman, S-G., Jansson, S., Johansson, L., Sandberg, E., Sonnvik, P. (2009). Naturvägledning i Sverige – en översikt. (Nature interpretation in Sweden.) Rapporter Institutionen för stad och land nr 5/2009. SLU Uppsala.

Caselunghe, E. & Nordström Källström, H. (2007). Lantbrukarnas framtidsbilder. Delstudie 4 inom regional landskapsstrategi för Stockholms län. In: Länsstyrelsen i Stockholms län. Det storstadsnära landskapet. Regional landskapsstrategi – en pilotstudie. Rapport 2007:34.

Master thesis

Caselunghe, E. (2007). Collaboration between Birdwatchers and Farmers to Improve Conservation Management for Farmland Birds. Master Thesis (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology) vol. 2007:1.

Popular science

Bergeå, H., Caselunghe, E., Nordström Källström, H., Ljung, M. (2011). Rådgivning om naturvård som affärsidé. (Agricultural extension that promotes nature conservation as a business idea.) Fakta Jordbruk. Rön från Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet. Nr 3, 2011. ISSN: 1403-1744. SLU Uppsala.