What about climate change adaptation in practice?

Last changed: 09 May 2023

Adapting to climate change means avoiding harm and/or seizing opportunity from climate change.

A study conducted in 2016 among forest professionals in Sweden revealed that one in three forest professionals (forest planners, advisors etc.) advocated adaptation of forest management to the impacts of climate change (Blennow et al. 2020). Although the Swedish forest professionals on average expected net positive impacts of climate change on the forest, this does not necessarily mean that the measures they had taken were taken in response to expected positive specific impacts of climate change.

It might have been that those who had adapted were specifically found among individuals with net negative expected impacts of climate change or, alternatively, that they expected positive as well as negative impacts of climate change and had adapted in response to the negative expected impacts of climate change.

Facilitate learning

Among the few studies conducted on measures taken for adaptation of forest management in Sweden, a study reports adaptation measures taken by private individual forest owners in 2004 of which some measures appear to have been taken to reduce risk, that is in response to negative expected impacts of climate change, such as to make sure to get the timber out early from the forest while the ground is still frozen (Blennow 2012). However, little is known about whether some of the other measures reported was taken to reduce risk or seize opportunity from climate change as the forest owners´ net values of expected impacts were not reported.

Providing information on which adaptation measures have been implemented by forest professionals is important to facilitate learning from others about means for adaptation of forest management to climate change and to enable taking the adaptation decisions into account in projections of the future state of the forest.

Means for adaptation and projection of the future state of the forest

Since the 70: ies, Swedish work organization is heavily influenced by a socio-technical perspective which entailed a high degree of workplace democracy, equity, and autonomy (Sandberg, 1982; Gardell, 1982). The increased democracy and autonomy have decentralized decisions, leading to a richer job content for the workers. Followingly, forest management is not decided solely by management professionals, but also by machine operators and motor-manual workers. The implication is that decisions on forest management are not only affected by multi-stakeholders, but also distributed through organizations.

This puts demands on the higher-level decisions to be efficiently communicated and synchronized both through organizations and between them. Therefore, knowledge on the forest professionals´ intentions and authority when choosing measures to take is important for identifying their communication needs on climate change.

The overall aim of the project is to understand Swedish forest professionals´ drivers and means for adaptation of forest management to climate change to enable learning on means for adaptation and projection of the future state of the forest, and to identify communication needs.


Project period: 2022-2023.
Project leader: Kristina Blennow, SLU.
Other participants in the project: Carola Häggström, SLU.
Partners: SLU Future Forests.


Kristina Blennow
Professor at the Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management 
Telephone: 040-415230
E-mail: kristina.blennow@slu.se

Carola Häggström, Postdoctor
Department of Forest Biomaterials and Technology, SLU
carola.haggstrom@slu.se, +46 90-786 86 13