This paper explores how climate change adaptation concerns were integrated into the Swedish forestry debate and policy process during the period of 1990–2012, and draws lessons on barriers and opportunities identified in this process.
Using a framework focusing on “advocacy coalitions”, we analyze how the adaptation debate in the forestry sector evolved over the period; who the main advocates for and against adaptation were; and which main arguments and processes affected the debate and policy.
The results show that academics advocating climate change adaptation, aided by outside influences, such as political pressure for adaptation responses and the negative impacts of the 2005 storm Gudrun, contributed to an increased general awareness and understanding of adaptation issues amongst forestry stakeholders. Nonetheless, the strong dominance of actors arguing for increased forest production and the limited number and relatively poor organization of adaptation advocates have acted as barriers to mainstreaming adaptation concerns into forestry policy and practice.
The dominant coalitions and their values have also determined the direction of debate and policy. The main conclusions for policymakers aiming to further this integration process are the importance of stimulating adaptation coalitions and the value of creating arenas for multiple stakeholder learning about adaptation.
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