Author: jayne

Looking back and looking forwards: taking stock of our progress so far

In November 2023, the LANDPATHS team gathered for a two-day workshop at Häverö Kursgard near Hallstavik. This was a chance for us to share and reflect on what we have learned so far, and plan the next stages of the research. In a programme as large as LANDPATHS, these types of meetings are vital to ensure coherence and co-production within and across the nine sub-projects.

As the first winter snow arrived, so did all the LANDPATHS team at a beautiful kursgård east of Uppsala. We meet regularly to discuss our work but this meeting was over two days and away from our ‘normal’ work environments. This allowed us to get into more depth in our discussions and get to know each other even better in a relaxed setting.

LANDPATHS team photo
Members of the research team after a successful two days together (back row, L to R: Marcus Hedblom, Charles Westerberg, Lucas Dawson, Michael Gilek, Tuija Hilding-Rydevik, Fanny Möckel, Stefan Sandström, Neil Powell, Magnus Florin, Max Whitman; front row, L to R: Lara Tickle, Jayne Glass, Malgorzata Blicharska, Tim Daw, Frida Öhman, Alejandra Figueredo, Judith Lundberg-Felten). Photo: Marta Kubacka

We had a full agenda of items to discuss, beginning with the important activity of updating each other on our work in each of the sub-projects. There was lots to report, with all sub-projects having carried out interviews or workshops in each of the landscapes in recent months (read more about the forest landscape workshops here).

Research team discussing around tables
Many of our discussions related to our evolving understandings of multifunctional landscapes in Sweden

Ahead of presenting our work in a session on ‘Collaborative Multifunctional Governance for Biodiversity’ at the upcoming Nordic Environmental Social Science conference in Finland, we also dedicated some time to unpacking our understanding of multifunctional landscapes in Sweden. This included reflections on how the people we have spoken to in our research interpret multifunctionality in a landscape context, and what other approaches and terms they use in their day-to-day work.

Research team completing a timeline exercise on a long table
Planning our activities and discussing integration of the subprojects

Getting together for an extended period of time also allowed us to plan the next stages of our work and get to know each other even better. We enjoyed a ‘landscape walk’, inspired by educational materials developed alongside the European Landscape Convention. Our challenge was to create and present an artwork that captured our experiences in the local area and the multifunctionality that we experienced in this area. The five groups had used different materials or sounds collected during their walks and combined this creatively with written poems or set it up as installations. We were impressed with the diversity of the results and the different messages the artworks conveyed.

Graveyard with old church on a winterday
Häverö church and graveyard where many LANDPATHS researchers took a walk and found signs of multifunctionality. Photo: Judith Lundberg-Felten

Michael Gilek, Lucas Dawson and Judith Lundberg-Felten presenting their piece of multi-biomaterial artwork in the shape of a cross representing the various social, cultural, economic, religious and ecosystem services provided by land owned by the church of Sweden. Photo: Charles Westerberg

Per Sandström and colleagues setting up their art installation using natural and human-made materials found close to Häverö kursgård. The artwork represented the changing nature of landscapes and their multiple functions over time and was accompanied by a poem recital. Photo: Charles Westerberg

We also had the pleasure of learning about the work of Marta Kubacka, a visiting researcher from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland. Marta gave us a presentation about her research on landscape diversity and how diversity relates to the provision of cultural ecosystem services.

Researcher presenting her work next to a screen with other researchers sitting in the audience
Marta Kubacka presenting her research. Photo: J. Lundberg-Felten

Thanks to Ingrid at Häverö Kursgård for such a comfortable and welcoming place to stay for a meeting like this.

Coming in 2024 – Deliberative mini-public in Voxnadalen Biosphere Reserve

In autumn 2024, LANDPATHS will collaborate with the Voxnadalen Biosphere Reserve to test a new method for involving citizens in research on multifunctional landscapes. Fanny Möckel, doctoral student at Uppsala University and a researcher in the sub-project Barriers and Opportunities for Change, tells us a little more about the planned ‘Deliberative mini-public’.

What would a multifunctional landscape in Voxnadalen look like in the future? Based on the conversations about this question at the LANDPATHS stakeholder workshop series, the next step is discussing the priorities in the biosphere reserve with citizens. This process will be led by myself and Tim Daw (Stockholm Resilience Centre), in collaboration with the Voxnadalen Biosphere Reserve.

Citizen engagement in sustainable planning

There are many ways to engage citizens, but LANDPATHS wants to try a new method. We will use a deliberative mini-public, which involves a randomly selected group of citizens taking part in moderated discussions in small groups on a topic of common interest. This method differs from other forms of citizen engagement, enabling participants to deliberate on ideas and proposals in more depth. There are several different formats, such as a citizen panel or a citizen jury, which have been used in several countries to discuss complex issues, including sustainable development and climate change.

Group of people

In a deliberative mini-public, citizens are selected according to criteria that ensure a broad representation of the public in a small group. Over 2-3 days, citizens hear different perspectives, opinions, and expert knowledge, and then discuss the issue in depth. The process usually concludes with a common conclusion or recommendations. Citizens are compensated financially for their participation in the process.

How should the biosphere reserve develop?

Key aspects of this process are that citizens discuss a topic that affects and concerns them, and that the outcome has the potential to influence decision-making and action related to the issue. The deliberative mini-public in Voxnadalen will focus on the future development of the biosphere reserve.

The Voxnadalen biosphere reserve coordination team has committed to integrating the results of the mini-public into the forthcoming development plan for the reserve.

Planning for the deliberative mini-public is now underway – keep an eye on the blog for more updates, or contact Fanny for more information.

Bird in a tree

The UNESCO Voxnadalen Biosphere Reserve spans an area of 342,00 ha in Hälsingland and Dalarna. Read more at This article is a summary of ‘Medborgarberedning i Biosfärområde Voxnadalen’, written by Fanny Möckel in the magazine ‘Det händer I Biosfärområde Voxnadalen – Information om Biosfärområde Voxnadalen 2023’, p.15.

Forest landscapes – three workshops completed in Voxnadalen Biosphere Reserve

In 2023, LANDPATHS researchers ran a series of three workshops in Voxnadalen Biosphere Reserve. The aim was to bring a wide range of stakeholders together to talk about their future visions of multifunctional forest landscapes.  Sara Holmgren (SLU) and Max Whitman (Uppsala University) tell us more.

Before the workshop series, we had two hopes. Firstly, we wanted to facilitate meaningful discussions about the forest landscape and its future. Secondly, we wanted to have exploratory conversations that would lead to concrete ideas that participants would be willing and able to develop further. By creating a conversational space grounded in respect and curiosity for different perspectives, we laid a solid foundation for both social learning and innovation-promoting processes.

Stakeholders discussing at a workshop
Participants at the first workshop. Photo: Thao Do.

The collaboration between LANDPATHS and the biosphere reserve provides us with a unique opportunity to explore how global challenges related to land use can be addressed locally in a way that benefits biodiversity, builds resilience against climate change, and contributes to social and economic development.

The hope is to take the insights generated through all the conversations and weave them into one or more focused projects that can be implemented locally. Themes that participants have returned to include quality timber production and its value chains, alternative forms of biodiversity-promoting measures, and collaborative planning across property boundaries. These themes have many aspects, but there is potential for many positive synergies among them.

Here are some reflections from some of the participants about their own experiences from the process:

“There have been interesting questions where actors from different areas within forestry can share their views on the forest as a resource, sustainability, and local collaboration. Most importantly for us is that the meetings between people spark creativity and new ways of thinking, which we intend to implement in parts of our own operations, along with the hope for new constellations and collaborations.”

Filip Hedberg, Top Branch Sweden / Björnsafari i Hälsingland

“Participating has given me ample opportunities to meet people with different perspectives on forestry, climate, and biodiversity. I believe it has provided me with new knowledge and, above all, new paths to consensus and understanding.”

Sven HILLERT, försämlingspräst Alfta-Ovanåker

Sara and Max, in tandem with other LANDPATHS researchers in the forest landscapes and future imaginaries projects, will now analyse all of the insights shared at the workshops, before undertaking the next stage of the research.

View from Växbo in Bollnäs municipality. Photo: Max Whitman.

The UNESCO Voxnadalen Biosphere Reserve spans an area of 342,00 ha in Hälsingland and Dalarna. Read more at This article is a summary of ‘På Landsvägar vi möts’, written by Hanna Alfredssom in the magazine ‘Det händer I Biosfärområde Voxnadalen – Information om Biosfärområde Voxnadalen 2023’, p.14.

LANDPATHS gets underway in the Voxnadalen Biosphere

Sara Holmgren, SLU

In LANDPATHS, we will develop new knowledge and ways forwards for multifunctional landscapes that strengthen biodiversity. LANDPATHS focuses on five types of landscapes: forest, agriculture, sea and coast, city and mountain. Sara Holmgren is a researcher at SLU and leader of the sub-project on forest landscapes. Sara writes about the research currently taking place with the Voxnadalen Unesco Biosphere Reserve.

Forest blåsippor in spring

Our goal with LANDPATHS is to develop knowledge about what needs to change, and how this change can happen in a way that is supported by a broad range of stakeholders. In my sub-project we explore the barriers and drivers for transformation in forest landscapes.

We learned about the Voxnadalen Biosphere Reserve, where there is a strong focus on the forest as a sustainable resource. We quickly got in touch to explore collaboration opportunities and we are delighted to have started. For us, collaboration on the ground is important, and we will work closely with local and regional actors. In this way, we can root the project-wide issues in a local context and learn from ongoing work.

Together with Max Whitman, PhD student at Uppsala University in the Mistra Environmental Communication programme, we are carrying out an initial survey of the diversity of perspectives that exist around current and future forests in the biosphere area. The first interviews with a wide range of local and regional stakeholders have been positive – many of the interviewees think that a project on multifunctional landscapes sounds exciting. Max and I are looking forward to getting to know Voxnadalen, making new contacts and building trust.

The interviews will provide insight into which entry points can open up conversations in an upcoming series of workshops that the project will conduct in the biosphere area. These workshops will aim to co-create different visions around multifunctional forests and mixed land use (in collaboration with the sub-project Future Imaginaries). A wide range of stakeholders will be invited to participate in this process.

We hope that the collaboration with Voxnadalen supports practical rather than abstract outcomes, and leads to the development of a multifunctional forest landscape in Voxnadalen.

The biosphere area covers the two provinces of Hälsingland and Dalarna, as well as the four municipalities of Ovanåker, Ljusdal, Bollnäs and Rättvik. The total area is approximately 342,000 ha and the number of inhabitants in the area is approximately 13,200. Read more at

This article is a summary of Vi är med och visar vägen till framtidens multifunktionella landskap’, written by Hanna Alfredsson in the magazine ‘Det händer i Biosfärområde Voxnadalen – Information om Biosfärområde Voxnadalen 2022’, pp.14–15.


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