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More profound knowledge about the preconditions, mechanisms and outcomes of learning on the policy- and forest management level is needed to achieve stipulated goals and targets. Learning processes must build on science-based knowledge about what constitutes optimal use of forests and their ecosystem services in the long term. Consequently, a holistic and integrated research approach is needed to explore the linkages between policy goals and instruments, behavioural responses, and ecosystem outcomes in integrated socio-ecological systems.

LEARNFORCLIMATE addresses the gaps and needs outlined above through four interrelated work packages (WPs). WP1 is strictly for internal administration and coordination, but the other WPs will answer the following overarching research questions:

i) What are the preconditions for national level policy learning, and how do climate change-related stress and disturbance influence policy change and the achievement of multiple forest related policy objectives and SDGs? (WP2)

ii) How do forest owners and managers respond to multiple policy objectives, instruments and ecosystem services demands in the context of climate related stress and disturbance? (WP3)

iii) How do alternative policy objectives, instruments and different behavioural responses influence long term forest ecosystem services and biodiversity outcomes, particularly trade-offs and synergies between different objectives and SDGs? (WP4)

iv) What policy instruments, scientific evidence, and forms of science-practice-policy collaboration support learning promoting sustainable and multifunctional forest management and goal achievement under climate related stress and disturbance? (WP5)

Arbetspaket 2

WP2 is lead by professor Annica Sandström (LTU Sweden) and co-lead by associate professor Krzysztof Niedziałkowski (IFiS Poland). The objective of WP2 is to identify the preconditions for forest-related policy learning, policy change and policy goal achievement under climate change related stress and disturbance. The research will identify relevant national policy objectives and instruments, explore and explain policy learning among national advocacy coalitions, and analyze how their learning affects integration of policy objectives and goal achievement including the SDGs. Using a comparative and longitudinal approach, advocacy coalitions' and national policies’ responses to climate related stress and disturbances will be analyzed in all participating countries (DE, PL, SE, SI). Particular attention is paid to the enabling and disabling factors of governance system characteristics, including: i) conflict and collaboration between advocacy coalitions; ii) venues for interaction and knowledge exchange; iii) access and quality of scientific information; and iv) behaviour of key actors/organizations, i.e. policy brokers, facilitating integrated solutions to multifunctional forest governance.


Arbetspaket 3

WP3 is led by prof. Špela Pezdevšek Malovrh, PhD UL(BF) and co-led by Bernhard Wolfslehner, PhD (EFI). It has two main objectives. The first objective is to investigate how forest owners' and managers understand and respond to policy, multiple ecosystem services demands, and climate related forest stress and disturbances. The second objective is to explore opportunities to support forest management adaptation and the achievement of multiple policy objectives through social and policy learning in selected regions affected by climate induced disturbances in all participating countries. WP3 will seek to answer two questions: 1) How do forest owners and managers understand and respond to multiple policy objectives, instruments, and ecosystem services demands, and climate related stress and disturbances? 2) How can policies support forest owners and managers’ learning to adapt to climate related stress and disturbances and to achieve multiple forest related objectives? WP3 consists of three different tasks. The first task identifies key drivers shaping forest management and explaining behavioural responses of private forest owners and managers under the combined influence of major forest stress and disturbances and multiple policy demands. The second task conducts a survey of forest owners’ and managers’ perceptions and behavioural responses to the combined influence of climate related stress and disturbance and multiple policy demands. The third task conducts an in-depth qualitative case study analysis to “zoom in” on selected regions in all participating countries. In-depth focus group discussions and interviews with representatives of the identified forest owner types will be used to explore how forest owners and managers deal with multiple policy- and ecosystem services demands and simultaneous climate related forest stress and disturbances; and how public policies can enhance learning, adaptation and goal achievement.

Arbetspaket 4

WP4 aims at projecting forest ecosystem services and essential biodiversity parameters (i.e. timber, carbon storage, water provisioning, deadwood, broadleaved tree abundance, etc. for habitat quality) in the participating countries, based on forest management scenarios (developed in WP3) reflecting owners/managers’ responses to different policy and disturbance scenarios. Furthermore, WP4 quantifies trade-offs and synergies between biodiversity, forest ecosystem services provision and forest related policy objectives. The results will be synthesized for decision/policy support and policy recommendations in WP5. How forests are managed is critical to the realization of synergies and trade-offs between biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as between different ecosystem services (Gamfeldt et al., 2013; Verkerk et al., 2014; Van der Plas et al., 2016). WP4 will thus generate science based knowledge that is urgently needed to support policy- and social learning to realize the best use of forests in a climate neutral society

Arbetspaket 5

Work Package (WP) 5 of LEARNFORCLIMATE facilitates collaborative social learning among relevant actors through joint science-practice-policy communicative action. It conducts cutting edge social science research and offers a policy-science-practice interface to promote mutual understanding of sustainable and multifunctional forest management under climate related stress and disturbances. The collaborative learning processes will involve academic (natural and social scientists) and non-academic actors such as forest owners and managers, forest industries, public authorities and policy makers, environmental and other relevant non-governmental organisations at the EU level as well as at the national and regional levels in Germany, Poland, Slovenia, and Sweden. Main research questions of WP5: 

1) What are the main drivers of and barriers to social learning between non-academic and academic actors? 

2) What knowledge and policy goals/instruments are perceived as legitimate and effective to achieve multiple forest related policy objectives (e.g., timber production for construction, pulp and paper and bio-energy vs. biodiversity conservation and restoration vs. climate mitigation and adaptation) under climate change related forest stress and disturbances (e.g., drought, storms, fire, bark beetles)? 

3) What innovative participatory practices and policy-science-interface methods have the greatest potential to support collaborative social learning promoting sustainable and multifunctional forest management to achieve different forest policy goals under climate change related forest stress and disturbances?

Foto: Pascal Renaud