Dialogue About Forests in Future Societal Development

Feb 10, 2023

The current development regarding the use of forests calls for a global dialogue platform on forest issues. The upcoming IUFRO World Congress 2024 offers such a well-timed opportunity.

Swedish representatives from non-profit organisations, businesses, and research institutions, in addition to other authorities, were invited by KSLA and SLU to participate in a panel discussion about the IUFRO World Congress 2024 and the future role of forests. The purpose of the meeting was to describe global trends and the path towards the congress, as well as raise expectations about the impact.

The stakeholders had a constructive and respectful dialogue, which bodes well for the future. The wide range of experience and the different perspectives of the participating speakers contributed to broadened views. The panel highlighted opportunities and challenges in relation to the theme of the congress Forests and Society towards 2050. A world congress at this scale reflects the global trends.

Global trends

The demographic development with a rapidly increasing population means an increased competition for land, food, fibre and fuel. Forests plays a key role in the increasing competition for land all around the globe. This development is characterised by increased uncertainty and unrest which implies a larger responsibility among all forest stakeholders.

The number of stakeholders with an interest in forests is expected to increase much faster than the resource itself. New demands from consumers and expected innovative business models implies a broader perspective and transparency along the whole value chain. We expect a significant acceleration of development and progress in the next five years compared to the previous 50.

Breaking down the boundaries between stakeholders, for example, by creating new platforms for collaboration, is viewed as a decisive factor. Moreover, increased knowledge about attitudes and needs among the general public and stakeholders is essential. The panel concluded that the timing of the congress presents an opportunity to establish a neutral forum for dialogue and exchange among stakeholders.

The road towards 2024

The IUFRO World Congress offers a chance to set the tone for future dialogue and has the potential to influence the Swedish forest debate by introducing new perspectives and incorporating global knowledge into the conversation.

The congress should have a solutions-focused approach for forests and their role in society, taking into account the latest scientific results as a guide. Research provides a common ground to challenge old ways of thinking. Finding new effective solutions for the future should lead to a better understanding of different perspectives and viewpoints. It is therefore necessary to broaden the view of forestry competence and relevant education.

The accelerating development with clear demands from the end consumer and the general public calls for new investments in research and development to find innovative solutions for a sustainable future. Accordingly, the congress compiles the latest research findings from all over the globe, and the venue in Stockholm will offer an extensive exhibition with an Innovation Stage and a Green Job Arena.

Wide range of stakeholders

The invited panel included Lotta Lyrå, President and CEO of Södra, Ulf Johansson, Global Wood & Forestry Manager, IKEA, Elliot Eriksson, Forestry Student´s Union at SLU, Josefine Åhrman, General Secretary, Svenskt Friluftsliv, Herman Sundquist, Director General, Swedish Forest Agency, Johanna Sandahl, Chair, Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, Jenny Wik Karlsson, Head of Operation, Svenska Samernas Riksförbund, Erik Brandsma, President & CEO, Sveaskog and Hans Djurberg, Sustainability Director, SCA

Participants at the meeting

NGOs and other organisations: WWF Sweden, BirdLife Sweden, Swedish Outdoor Association, Secretariat for International Forestry Issues (SIFI), Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, KSLA, Svenskt Friluftsliv, National Confederation of Swedish Sami, Greenpeace, Förbundet Svensk Fäbodkultur och utmarksbruk (FSF), Swedish Orienteering Federation, Branschföreningen Svensk Torv, Gröna kvinnor, Swedish Hunter Association, The National Federation of Hunters (JRF), Church of Sweden, Royal Court Sweden

Forest Industry and Forest management organisations: Forest Stewardship Council Sweden (FCS), Skogssällskapet, AirForestry, Swedish Forest Industry Federation, SCA, Sveaskog, Mellanskog, Södra, The Federation of Swedish Farmers, Holmen, Virkesbörsen, IKEA, Gillaskog AB, Skogscertifiering Prosilva, Svenska PEFC, The Forest Solution

Governmental authorities: Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management,  Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development (Formas), Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Ministry of Justice Finland, Swedish Forest Agency, County Administrative Board Stockholm

Universities and research organisations: SLU, RISE, Swedish Environmental Research Institute IVL, SU, Nordic Forest Research (SNS), KTH, LiU, NIBIO, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Forestry Research Institute of Sweden (Skogforsk), Forestry Student´s Union at SLU

Other organisations and business: Lifestyle Invest, Forest Sector Insights, Brand Arena Nordic Group, Sture Gustavsson Management AB, First Bioenergy AB, Bitzer Productions AB, Löckerums Gård, Lars Klingström AB, M Larsson Consulting, Greenphile, IMBA Europe, Viken Consulting, Wintzell&Co, ScanDry AB, JJ Forestry AB, Valdemarsviks Sparbank

Impressions from the event


Watch the recorded live broadcast at KSLA homepage.