Towards collaborative forest planning in Canadian and Swedish hinterlands: Different institutional trajectories?

Chiasson, G., Angelstam, P.,  Axelsson, R., Doyon, F.,  (2019). « Towards collaborative forest planning in Canadian and Swedish hinterlands: Different institutional trajectories? », Land Use Policy, vol. 83, p. 334-345.


Forest policy has developed from single to multiple objectives. This requires a transition from traditional sectoral planning to more open, multi-stakeholder approaches that take into account all dimensions of sustainability across entire landscapes and even regions. Comparisons of regions with different landscape histories and governance legacies can support collaborative learning. Following Patsy Healy’s and Frances Cleaver’s approaches, we compare institutional strategies and constraints for collaborative territorial planning in Canada and Sweden by focusing on two case study regions in steep urban-rural gradients. Both regions are facing severe challenges after a long focus on forest staples resources. To cope with the transition towards multiple objectives, efforts towards collaborative learning inspired by the Model Forest landscape approach were made. The Canadian case study had some quick successes because of government funding, and managed to begin collaborative planning, but changes in public policy led to a quick demise. The Swedish case study developed local islands of collaborative learning, provided that champions managed to sustain their work. To conclude, we see two trajectories towards collaborative territorial planning shaped by different institutions: (1) regional level public core funding that can support planning processes top-down, or (2) establishment of voluntary local win-win solutions bottom-up. Both require committed stakeholders that are willing to employ a holistic perspective, and able to sustain resources in the long-term. However, despite a clearly stated goal towards multiple-use forest management, institutional legacies aiming at supporting maximum sustained yield wood production that have ruled the relationships between the state and the industry for so many years remain key barriers for multifunctional landscapes and regions.