The Construction of Agency in Practice
Edited by Göran Sundström, Linda Soneryd and Staffan Furusten
Chapter 6: In Search of Democracy. The Process Behind the Swedish Forest-sector Objectives
Göran Sundström In May 2004, the Swedish Forest Agency (SFA) published a 15-page brochure under the title Forest-sector Objectives (SFA 2004).1 It states that the Swedish parliament and the Swedish government had formulated two general objectives for the forest sector: that forests should be utilized efficiently, with the aim of achieving a sustainable yield of high market values; and that the biological diversity and genetic variation of the forest should be preserved and secured for the future. It also states that parliament and the government have exhibited no interest in specifying these general objectives, and have assigned SFA to concretize them if required. The forest-sector objectives are described as an expression of this concretizing work. The forest-sector objectives include several “interim targets”. They are relatively well-specified, and in many cases quantified, and they are to be fulfilled quickly – by 2010 at the latest. They cover many aspects of the forest, such as production, regeneration, precommercial thinning, game, protection of key habitats, forest roads, reindeer herding, ancient monuments and recreation management of urban forests. The brochure states that these interim targets represent priorities, highlighting the most important areas within Swedish forest policy. The brochure also tells us that SFA has devised the forest-sector objectives in close cooperation with various stakeholders – other state agencies, private and public companies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and trade unions – with the goal of attaining ‘a well-balanced and accepted interpretation’ of the forest policy, in order to strengthen the implementation process (ibid. p. 3).2...
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