The fight about the forest – boil, saw, burn or preserve?

Runar Brännlund Patrik Söderholm Robert Lundmark

In this report, the researchers analyse a range of uses of the forest, competition for forest raw material and how the forest can best be used in the long run. They also point out the risks caused by different subsides and regulations.

kampen_om_skogen.pdf 3.9 MB PDF

ECONOMIC PERSPECTIVE OF THE FOREST. The forest is the largest and most valuable natural resource in Sweden. The objective of the report is to provide an economic perspective of the use of the forest. The forest does now constitute the focus for those thoughts and proposals that exist about a sustainable society and an energy system that is based on renewable resources. Obvious conflicts of interests have emerged here, both of a purely marked-oriented character and a more political character.

WHEN IS POLITICAL CONTROL NEEDED? The authors consider that political control of the use of the forest is motivated if the current market conditions, or the political control instruments and measures, lead to considerable distortions of the decisions that are made on the market. This might, for example, concern inefficient rules for the allocation of emission rights, inefficient processes for rights in the energy sector, or the absence of control instruments that will in a fully adequate way internalize various, positive and negative, environmental effects in forestry, the forest industry as well as energy production.

FOCUS ON CREATING MARKETS. According to the authors of the report, the policy pursued should not try to replace the basic task of the economic markets –allocating the resources of society in an efficient way – but instead focus on those values that do not have a price on any market, for example environmental costs and collective utilities.

DO NOT CONTROL FUEL USE AND TECHNOLOGY CHOICE. The use of the forest has a strong connection to the energy and climate policy that is being pursued in its capacity as a renewable fuel. The authors advocate a broad use of economic control instruments, such as trade in emissions rights and taxes, but are opposed to direct government control of the use of fuel and technology choice. Also the use of the forest in the so-called coal cycle is of importance which is currently not fully reflected in the market prices of forests, forest land and forest products.

Researchers and Scientific Directors
RUNAR BRÄNNLUND, Professor of Economics at Umeå University, ROBERT LUNDMARK, Associate Professor of Economics at Luleå University of Technology and external Director of Research at SNS and PATRIK SÖDERHOLM Professor of Economics at Luleå University of Technology.