Adaptive Forest Policy : The Integration of Disaster Risk Reduction through Nature-Based Solutions in Swedish and Scottish Forest Policy

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för geovetenskaper

Abstract: Climate change may cause significant changes to our relationship with nature, triggering large impacts on ecosystems and the societies dependent on their ecosystem services. Forests are seen as a mitigating solution for their abilities to store carbon, provide forest products, enhance biodiversity along with other forest ecosystem services (FES). Forest’s natural systems have shown resilience against climate-induced disasters and have been acknowledged as an important tool to mitigate climate change. However, to ensure the continued supply of these services requires adaptable management of forest ecosystems through policy. This study aims to analyse how Swedish and Scottish public FES-related policy integrates the adaptive and mitigating methods used in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Nature-based Solutions (NBS). The method of this analysis relied on three theoretical approaches; Policy integration, Environmental policy integration and Frames to see how the concepts and methods of NBS and DRR are implemented within Swedish and Scottish forest policy. The results showed that the main message from both Swedish and Scottish public FES-related policy is that humans are dependent on FES, therefore the protection of forest land and species cannot be under-prioritised. Both countries’ goals focus on becoming climate neutral by 2045 with an increased (Scotland) or sustained (Sweden) bioeconomy to be achieved alongside carbon sequestration, increased biodiversity, and diversified usage of forests. Both countries recognise and use ecosystem services as a NBS to mitigate climate change and reduce disaster risk. The increase of biodiversity through afforestation, green infrastructure, and conservation as a method to create resilience is a common method of NBS within the policy documents, and its ability to prevent risks along several areal and hierarchical scales show methods of DRR. However, vague goals on the strategy to achieve this are seen within both countries’ policy which question their determination and ability to succeed. Their difference in forest ownership structure and history diverges their application of community engagement in FES management. It is now essential that both Sweden and Scotland implement a sustainable balance between their national strategy objectives for the sake of the environment and use the considerable political traction by methods of NBS and DRR to reach resilient forest ecosystems. Future research could further assess the results and consequences of the policy strategies to see if they have achieved inclusive, integrated forest resilience through adaptive policy. 

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