MIRAI 2.0 R&I Week 2023 

Forests at a Crossroads: Sustainable Pathways for Sweden and Japan

Mattia Bianchi
Forest management; ecosystem services; innovation; sustainability
Short workshop abstract:
Both Sweden and Japan are heavily forested countries with a long tradition of forest cultivation and planting. Their forest sectors have evolved significantly, driven by industrialization and technological advancements. This workshop seeks to stimulate an interdisciplinary dialogue on forest management with a focus on the current transformation of the sector across both nations.
Forests fulfill crucial economic, environmental and social functions. Given resource limitations, complex trade-offs are necessary to balance forests’ diverse roles. While increasing wood extraction to grow the bioeconomy fosters the substitution of fossil-based, carbon-intensive materials, it might result in biodiversity loss and even higher GHG emissions. Various stakeholders such as forest owners, forest product enterprises, government agencies, NGOs and indigenous groups, have divergent views on these dilemmas. This has ignited intense, polarized debates, especially in Sweden.
The prevailing forest sector is under great pressure. To many experts, a paradigmatic transformation is needed for the sector to properly address today’s severe challenges, particularly environmental ones.
Clearly, the nature and trajectory of this transformation, the pathways chosen to achieve sustainability, may be idiosyncratic, being shaped by societal, cultural, and political dynamics at the national level. These influences can lead to fundamental differences in how forests are valued, used, managed; in how trade-offs are made and balance achieved; in the interactions among stakeholders and institutions.
The goal of this workshop is to discuss sustainable forest management approaches in Sweden and Japan, with a focus on change and transformation. The workshop will adopt an interdisciplinary perspective, with speakers addressing the topic from diverse angles, ranging from innovation to history of ideas, from academic to practitioner standpoints. An interactive roundtable dialogue will complement the presentations.
The workshop aims not only to facilitate knowledge exchange and foster networking but also to encourage concrete action and future projects.