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Sara Holmgren

Sara Holmgren
PhD in Forest Policy, Senior researcher in Environmental Communication, Adjunct research fellow at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia.


My research is interdisciplinary, critical and change oriented. With a focus on the politics and practice of sustanable development in different domains, I typically explore the instrumental and constitutive functions of communication, and their material effects.


I currently lead the Bachelor's course 'The Politics and Practice of Sustainability' and regularly supervise students from the Master Program in Environmental Communication.


My research focus on the complex interactions between global science, national politics and local land use practices, and the tensions emerging as societies seek to transform in more sustainable directions. Theoretically, I draw on STS, feminist theorising, and governmentality studies, and power and knowledge are concepts key to my work. In addition to leading research projects and doing reserach, I regularly review articles for scientific journals, including Critical policy studies, Agriculture and Human Values, The Extractive Industries and Society, Land Use Policy, Environmental Sociology, Journal of Rural Studies, and Forest policy and Economics. 


I have a broad international research network and experience of working in inter- and transdisciplinary teams. I have extensive experience of collaborating with stakeholders with different interests, from public and private sectors at different scales. 

I regularly participate in panel discussions, organized and moderated workshops, and give lectures outside the academy in collaboration with authorities, companies, research financiers and museums. 


I finalised my PhD project at SLU's Forest Faculty in 2015, which was titled 'Governing forests in a changling climate'. In my thesis, I explored th interactions between global visions of climate mitigation and Swedish forest politics.

Since 2017 I work as a senior researcher in Environmental Communication at the Department of Urban and Rural Development.


I currently co-supervise two doctoral students:

- Daniel Valentini, who explore the challenges and opportunities of increased cycling in urban transport governance.

- Max Whitman, who explores the potentials of knowledge co-creation in efforts to develop more sustainable human-forest relations in Sweden and Honduras.

Selected publications

Max Whitman & Sara Holmgren (2022) Representations of wildfires in academia, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, DOI: 10.1080/09640568.2022.2150155

Holmgren, S., D’Amato, D. & Giurca, A. Correction to: Bioeconomy imaginaries: A review of forest-related social science literature. Ambio 51, 1614 (2022).

Sofie Joosse, Stina Powell, Hanna Bergeå, Steffen Böhm, Camilo Calderón, Elvira Caselunghe, Anke Fischer, Ann Grubbström, Lars Hallgren, Sara Holmgren, Annette Löf, Helena Nordström Källström, Kaisa Raitio, Susan Senecah, Christoffer Söderlund Kanarp, Erica von Essen, Lotten Westberg & Martin Westin (2020) Critical, Engaged and Change-oriented Scholarship in Environmental Communication. Six Methodological Dilemmas to Think With, Environmental Communication, 14:6, 758-771, DOI: 10.1080/17524032.2020.1725588

Holmgren, S., Fischer, K., Lövbrand, E. (2020) Policybrief - Skogens roll i klimatomställningen, September 2020. DOI:10.13140/RG.2.2.13067.31528

Holmgren, S., D’Amato, D. & Giurca, A. Bioeconomy imaginaries: A review of forest-related social science literature. Ambio 49, 1860–1877 (2020).

Masiero, M., Secco, L., Pettenella, D. et al. Bioeconomy perception by future stakeholders: Hearing from European forestry students. Ambio 49, 1925–1942 (2020).

Fischer, Klara & Stenius, Tove & Holmgren, Sara. (2020). Swedish Forests in the Bioeconomy: Stories from the National Forest Program. Society & Natural Resources. 33. 1-18. 10.1080/08941920.2020.1725202. 

Holmgren, S., Pever, M., & Fischer, K. (2019). Constructing low-carbon futures? Competing storylines in the Estonian energy sector's translation of EU energy goals. Energy Policy, 135, 111063.

Baycheva-Merger, T., Sotirov, M., Holmgren, S., & Selter, A. (2018). Institutional and actor-oriented factors constraining expert-based forest information exchange in Europe: A policy analysis from an actor-centred institutionalist approach. Forests, 9(3), 129.

Eggers, J., Holmgren, S., Nordström, E. M., Lämås, T., Lind, T., & Öhman, K. (2017). Balancing different forest values: Evaluation of forest management scenarios in a multi-criteria decision analysis framework. Forest Policy and Economics.

Holmgren, S. and Arora-Jonsson, S. (2016) The Forest Kingdom – with what values for the world? Climate change and gender policy in a contested context. In Colfer, C. et al. (Eds) Gender and forests.Climate change, gender, value chains and emerging issues.CIFOR.

Holmgren, S. (2015) Skogsrikets värderingar – en fråga om prioriteringar. I Andersson, E. (ed): Den öppna skogen, Kön, genus och jämställdhet i skogssektorn. Uppsala: SLU Service Repro.

Holmgren, S. (2015) Governing forests in a changing climate. Exploring patterns of thought at the climate-forest policy intersection. Doctoral Thesis No.2015:61. Uppsala: SLU Service/Repro.

Holmgren, S. and Arora-Jonsson, S. (2015) The Forest Kingdom – with what values for the world? Climate change and gender equality in a contested forest policy context. Scandinavian Journal of Forestry Research, 30(3), s.235-245.

Holmgren, S. (2013) REDD+ in the making: Orders of knowledge in the climate-deforestation nexus. Environmental Science and Policy (33), 369-377.

Kleinschmit, D, Ingemarsson, F., and Holmgren, S. (2011). Swedish forest policy research – a review. Scandinavian Journal of Forestry Research (27:2), 120-129.


Ongoing projects

Governing the Bioeconomy Transition: Actors, values and trade-offs.

Shadow Forests (

LandPaths (




Researcher at the Department of Urban and Rural Development; Division of Environmental Communication
Telephone: +4618673804, +46765132028+46730562619
Postal address:
Inst för stad och land, Box 7012
Visiting address: Ulls väg 27, Uppsala