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Trees are all around us: Farmers’ management of wood pastures in the light of a controversial policy

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Mattias Sandberg
Simon Jakobsson
Publicerad i Journal of Environmental Management
Volym 212
Sidor 228-235
ISSN 0301-4797
Publiceringsår 2018
Publicerad vid Institutionen för ekonomi och samhälle, Kulturgeografi
Institutionen för ekonomi och samhälle
Sidor 228-235
Språk en
Länkar https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2...
Ämnesord Decision-making, European Union, Policy, Relational values, Trees
Ämneskategorier Kulturgeografi


© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Wood pastures are some of the most species-rich environments found in Europe and therefore essential habitats for biodiversity conservation. Society also puts faith in multiple values of trees, ranging from climate change mitigation to socio-cultural traditions. Therefore, the seemingly arbitrary tree density limit for pasture environments imposed by the EU through its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) threatened both biological and societal values. In this study on farmers’ perspectives, we target the effects of the CAP tree density limit on management of wood pastures in a low-intensively managed agricultural landscape of southern Sweden. The case of simplifying nature by using simple number limitations was used as an entry point in semi-structured, open-ended, interviews with farmers and officials about their view on trees and pasture management in relation to policy directives. The interviews showed that the policy incentive shifted the management focus from grazing quality to the number of trees and that farmers are willing to cut in order to get subsidies and timber revenues, however not unreflectingly. Farmers had high knowledge about the wide ranging social, cultural and natural values of trees, and are often themselves as good regulators of tree management as policies intend to be. Our study reveals many difficulties in managing the complex relations within landscapes with simplified legal measures, opening up for further discussion about improving policy instruments to preserve both social and biological values of wood pastures. However, although the tree density limit has been criticised on many points related to biodiversity conservation, this study shows that other values linked to pasture trees, e.g. the aesthetic values and their importance as shelter for grazing animals, could be an argument to actually keep the focus on trees as indicators of pasture management quality. We suggest that trees in general and wood-pastures in particular therefore are good starting points, or boundary-objects, for collaboration between production and conservation interests of farming and environmental management.

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