In Sweden, formally protected nature is largely concentrated into the Scandinavian Mountains and the mountain foothills landscape. Despite relatively low levels of human impact in these regions, their preservation while also promoting sustainable rural development is a major challenge. Analysis of novel spatial information will deepen our knowledge of the mountainous forest landscape regarding ecological connectivity, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable landscape planning.
Many different and sometimes conflicting landscape- and land-use interests overlap in the region; to accommodate all public and private claims on nature and landscapes is not feasible. Although the forest landscape of the mountain region has been subject to diverse land-use (forestry, reindeer husbandry, mountain agriculture, and others), this land-use is much less intense than elsewhere in Sweden and with a noticeably lower rate of clear-felling. As a consequence, these forests remain valuable in terms of maintaining species, natural ecological structures, and processes.
Biological diversity, sustainability, and multiple uses
With the establishment of the mountain forest border as a policy regulation in 1991, the approach to clear-felling above this border became more restrictive and has since ensured the forest’s relative intactness. Historically, clear-felling in the region has not had major negative impacts. According to Johan Svensson, forest policy must still be proactive and focus on biological diversity, sustainability, and multiple uses.
The north-south extension of the Scandinavian Mountains Green Belt along with the entire mountain range - spanning some 800 km - makes it a critical factor in maintaining the presence of species in times of climatic change, similar to the North American Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y) or The Australian Alps to Atherton (A2A) Connectivity Conservation Area. The success of such conservation efforts hinges on evidence-based management; the analyses made by SLU researchers provide essential knowledge for making beneficial decisions concerning the future of the Scandinavian Mountains Green Belt.
Thus, applied research on landscape planning that concurrently protects natural, cultural, and economic values is critical. As Bengt Gunnar Jonnson puts it, to mitigate the often-heated debate on the present and future use of forests as a resource for multiple value chains, in Sweden as in other countries, there is a great need to put facts and premises in the forefront.
Johan Svensson, firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: +46 73 021 68 80
Bengt Gunnar Jonsson, email@example.com Phone: +46 10 142 89 41
Per Angelstam, firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: +46 70 244 49 71
Jakub W. Bubnicki, email@example.com Phone: +48 517 410 275
Grzegorz Mikusiński, firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: +46 70 775 71 61
Ongoing research at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) concerning conservation of primary forests of Sweden is financed by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and FORMAS.