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Sustainable Management of Forest Resources in Northern Sweden: Improved Consultation Procedures between Forestry and Reindeer Industry

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Sandström, Camilla; Widmark, Camilla
Conference: Building the European Commons: From Open Fields to Open Source, European Regional Meeting of the International Association for the Study of Common Property (IASCP)
Location: Brescia, Italy
Conf. Date: March 23-25
Date: 2006
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1924
Sector: Forestry
Region: Europe
Subject(s): IASC
forest management
indigenous institutions
Sámi (European people)
Abstract: "About 50% of the total land area in northern Sweden is covered by forest and the forest is used for many different purposes, which results in conflict situations where economic, environmental and cultural values are at stake. Two conflicting industries, using the forestland in parallel, are the forest industry and the reindeer (Rangifer Tarandus Tarandus) herding industry. The reindeer industry is practiced, with exclusive rights, by the indigenous people in Sweden - the Sami. The reindeer industry is of great economic and cultural importance to the Sami. The forest industry is using, to a large extent, the same land areas as the reindeer industry to produce timber and the industry is an important part of the Swedish economy. As the two is using the forest resource for different purposes - forestry aims at the economic return from timber production and reindeer industry aims at natural grazing areas - conflicts over land use occur between forestry and reindeer industry. The conflict has historical roots and have escaladed since forestry mechanisation in the 1950s. "The common pool resource character of this situation has made it difficult to find sustainable solutions for co-existence. Forestry is considered a major threat to reindeer herding in the future. At the same time, reindeer husbandry has negative economic impacts on forestry because forestry has to adjust its harvest plans in response to the demands of the reindeer industry. Attempts to reduce conflicts between the two industries are made through the consultation system, which is stated in the Swedish law as well as through the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification system. The purpose of the consultation is to enable the two industries to continue co-existing and the system can be viewed as a co-management solution where the main stakeholders are involved in negotiations concerning the resource. The problem is that the current system does not resolve all emerging conflicts, and is thus inefficient. One reason can be found in the uneven power distribution and as earlier research has shown, uneven power distribution is not robust enough to be maintained. Property rights are the roots of the conflict. Forestry owns and manages the resource, while reindeer husbandry has only the rights to use the land. Earlier research also show that the legislations regulating the relationship between the two industries does not give sufficient protection to the reindeer husbandry and their needs of natural grazing areas. Evaluations of the consultation system also show a widespread dissatisfaction among reindeer herders and a rather satisfied forestry sector, indicating an uneven power distribution. It is however unclear how uneven the power distribution is between the two actors and what consequences this might have for the robustness of the management system. By focusing on the power distribution within the consultation procedure this article explores the two industries' possibilities to influence the outcome of negotiations. The article investigates the development of the consultation procedure over time and the present quality of the management system as well as factors that might improve the system."

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