The Bio-Based Economy: Dynamics Governing Transition Pathways in the Swedish Forestry Sector
Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
System Dynamics Group, Department of Geography, University of Bergen, Postboks 7802, NO-5020 Bergen, Norway
Center for Studies and Research on Internal Development (CERDI), University of Clermont-Auvergne, FR-320, 63009 Clermont-Ferrand, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 976; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10040976
Received: 5 March 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 25 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Transition Towards a Bio-Based Economy: New Technologies, New Products, New Policies)
A transition to a bio-based economy would entail change in coupled social–ecological systems. These systems are characterised by complexity, giving rise to potential unintended consequences and trade-offs caused by actions aiming to facilitate a transition process. Yet, many of the analyses to date have been focusing on single and predominantly technological aspects of the bio-based economy. The main contribution of our work is to the development of an integrated understanding of potential future transition pathways, with the present paper focusing specifically on terrestrial biological resources derived from the forestry sector in Sweden. Desired change processes identified include a transition to diversified forest management, a structural change in the forestry industry to enable high-value added production, and increased political support for the bio-based economy concept. Hindrances identified include the ability to demonstrate added values for end consumers of novel biomass applications, and uncertainty linked to a perceived high level of polarisation in the forestry debate. The results outline how these different processes are interrelated, allowing for the identification of high order leverage points and interventions to facilitate a transition to a bio-based economy.