- What are the social–ecological dynamics currently enabling or hindering a transition to a bio-based economy?
- What actions are proposed to facilitate a transition to a bio-based economy, and what pathways do they form?
2. Research Design and Methodological Framework
2.1. Tools for Systems Analysis: System Dynamics Modelling
- Problem identification: What is the aim of the modelling process? What is the behaviour of interest? What are the key variables and concepts giving rise to the behaviour of interest?
- Formulation of dynamic hypothesis: What are current theories about the behaviour of interest? What are endogenous consequences of the feedback structures in the system?
- Formulation of simulation model to test the hypothesis (e.g., specification of model parameters and initial conditions).
- Model testing: Does the model replicate reference data? Is the behavioural output robust? What are the results of the sensitivity analysis?
- Policy design and testing: How can proposed policy options be represented in the model and what are their potential impacts? How do different policy options interact?
2.2. Expert Interviews
2.3. Data Analysis and Development of Dynamic Hypotheses
2.4. The Leverage Points Framework
3.1. Dynamics Governing a Transition in Primary Production and Processing
3.1.1. Drivers of a Transition in Primary Production
3.1.2. Hindrances of a Transition in Primary Production
3.1.3. Drivers of a Transition Linked to Innovation in the Processing Stage
3.2. The Political Dimension of the Bio-Based Economy Concept
3.2.1. Key Feedbacks Governing Political Support for the Bio-Based Economy
3.2.2. Dynamics Eroding Political Support for the Bio-Based Economy
3.3. Proposed Leverage Points and Interventions
4. Transition Pathways towards a Bio-Based Economy
4.1. Summary of Proposed Interventions
4.2. Synergies and Trade-Offs
5. Conclusions and Future Research
Conflicts of Interest
Appendix A. An introduction to Causal Loop Diagrams (CLDs)
|The link represents a causal relationship between variable X and variable Y.|
The (+) suggests that the relationship is positive.
|If X goes up (down), then Y will go up (down). |
If there is a change in X, then Y will change in the same direction.
The relationship is one-directional, a change in Y has no effect on X.
|The link represents a causal relationship between variable Y and variable X.|
The (-) suggests that the relationship is negative.
|If Y goes up (down), then X will go down (up). |
If there is a change in Y, then X will change in the opposite direction.
The relationship is one-directional, a change in X has no effect on Y.
|The figure displays a reinforcing feedback loop.||A feedback loop is reinforcing if there are no (-) signs, or if the number of (-) signs is even.|
This type of feedback reinforces an initial change in the system, and is a source of growth, erosion, and collapse.
|The figure displays a balancing feedback loop.||A feedback loop is balancing if the number of (-) signs is odd.|
If a variable in a balancing loop changes, the feedback effect opposes and may reverse the initial change.
Balancing feedback loops are self-correcting.
|The mark on the arrow indicates a delay in the system.||This mark denotes that the causal effect of a change in variable Y on variable X is significantly delayed in time.|
It is not the usual convention to make delays explicit in CLDs, unless they are significant in relation to other causalities in the CLD.
Appendix B. Overview of the Area Expertise, Current Position, and Educational Background of Interviewees
|Interviewee No.||Specific Area of Expertise||Current Position||Educational Background|
|1.||Climate change, air pollution, and agriculture||Advisor at non-governmental organisation||Environmental Engineering|
|2.||Energy, climate change, and the bio-based economy||Expert and policy advisor, working at interest and business organisation representing the green industries in Sweden||Economics|
|3.||Business development, policy design, and the bio-based economy||Senior adviser at the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation||Biology|
|4.||Gender equality in the forest sector, forest management models among private forest owners||Committee member, Forest owner association||Economics|
|5.||Sustainable food systems, policy making in the agricultural sector||Research coordinator and consultant for municipalities||Agronomy|
|6.||Business development in the green industries, sustainable agricultural production systems||Head of corporate social responsibility at agricultural cooperative||Environmental Science|
|7.||The bio-based economy and policy development at the EU level||International coordinator, The Swedish Forest Agency||Environmental communication|
|8.||Sustainable agriculture, environmental communication||Associate professor, Örebro University, Sweden||Sustainability Science|
|9.||The bio-based economy, innovation in the forest industry||Consultant for governments and industry in forestry related issues||Forest sector and policy analysis|
|10.||Sustainable forestry||Senior lecturer, Lund University, Sweden||Environmental Science|
|11.||Innovation policy, sustainability transitions, bio-refinery development||Associate senior lecturer, Lund University, Sweden||Economic Geography|
|12.||Decision making among private forest owners, policy development for the bio-based economy||Senior lecturer in environmental management, Stockholm University, Sweden||Ecology|
|13.||Policy development and collaboration for the bio-based economy||Coordinator for the circular and bio-based economy innovation and partnership platform at the Swedish Government||Agronomy|
|14.||Bio-energy, policy frameworks for the bio-based economy||Desk officer, Government Offices of Sweden||Chemistry|
Appendix C. Interview Guide for Semi-Structured Interviews
- Welcoming and gathering of participant information
- Introduction to the AdaptEcon research project, researcher background, research process.
- Tell me about your background and your current position?
- Interview questions
- Are you familiar with the bio-based economy concept from before? How would you define a bio-based economy/how do you understand the concept?
- In what ways do you/your organisation/employer work with a bio-based economy?
- Can you describe a desirable development that would follow from a transition to a bio-based economy? What is the desired change that a transition would bring (short term/long term)?
- What would be desirable effects on the sectorial (agriculture/forestry) level, and on a national level?
- What indicators could be used to trace/measure this development?
- Can you give examples of actions or proposals to implement in order to facilitate a transition process?
- What are the main challenges to overcome in order to facilitate a transition process?
- Can you come to think of any unintended consequences following a transition process?
- Can you give examples of uncertainties or areas of risk linked to a transition process?
- What measures could reduce this uncertainty/risk?
- What actors should take lead in the transition process?
- Can you give examples of actors or perspectives relevant to the bio-based economy, but currently being overlooked in the general debate?
- Closing of interview
- Other questions/comments?
- Thanking of participant and snowball sampling.
- Formas. Swedish Research and Innovation Strategy for a Bio-Based Economy; Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning; Formas: Stockholm, Sweden, 2012. [Google Scholar]
- Skånberg, K.; Olsson, O.; Hallding, K. Den Svenska Bioekonomin: Definitioner, Nulägesanalys och Möjliga Framtider; SEI: Stockholm, Sweden, 2016. [Google Scholar]
- Berkes, F.; Folke, C.; Colding, J. Linking Social and Ecological Systems: Management Practices and Social Mechanisms for Building Resilience; Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK, 2000. [Google Scholar]
- Folke, C.; Biggs, R.; Norström, A.; Reyers, B.; Rockström, J. Social–ecological resilience and biosphere-based sustainability science. Ecol. Soc. 2016, 21, 41. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Bugge, M.; Hansen, T.; Klitkou, A. What Is the Bioeconomy? A Review of the Literature. Sustainability 2016, 8, 691. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Staffas, L.; Gustavsson, M.; McCormick, K. Strategies and Policies for the Bioeconomy and Bio-Based Economy: An Analysis of Official National Approaches. Sustainability 2013, 5, 2751–2769. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Golembiewski, B.; Sick, N.; Bröring, S. The emerging research landscape on bioeconomy: What has been done so far and what is essential from a technology and innovation management perspective? Innov. Food Sci. Emerg. Technol. 2015, 29, 308–317. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Pülzl, H.; Kleinschmit, D.; Arts, B. Bioeconomy—An emerging meta-discourse affecting forest discourses? Scand. J. For. Res. 2014, 29, 386–393. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Holtz, G.; Alkemade, F.; de Haan, F.; Köhler, J.; Trutnevyte, E.; Luthe, T.; Halbe, J.; Papachristos, G.; Chappin, E.; Kwakkel, J.; et al. Prospects of modelling societal transitions: Position paper of an emerging community. Environ. Innov. Soc. Transit. 2015, 17, 41–58. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Sterman, J.D. Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World, Nachdr; Irwin/McGraw-Hill: Boston, MA, USA, 2009. [Google Scholar]
- Meadows, D.H. Whole Earth Models and Systems. Available online: http://donellameadows.org/wp-content/userfiles/Whole-Earth-Models-and-Systems.pdf (accessed on 23 March 2018).
- Regeringskansliet. Innovation partnership programmes—Mobilising new ways to meet societal challenges. Regeringskansliet. 19 July 2016. Available online: http://www.government.se/articles/2016/07/innovation-partnership-programmes--mobilising-new-ways-to-meet-societal-challenges/ (accessed on 5 April 2017).
- Richardson, G.P. Reflections on the foundations of system dynamics: Foundations of System Dynamics. Syst. Dyn. Rev. 2011, 27, 219–243. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Lane, D.C. The emergence and use of diagramming in system dynamics: A critical account. Syst. Res. Behav. Sci. 2008, 25, 3–23. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Stave, K.A.; Kopainsky, B. A system dynamics approach for examining mechanisms and pathways of food supply vulnerability. J. Environ. Stud. Sci. 2015, 5, 321–336. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Van den Belt, M.; Kenyan, J.R.; Krueger, E.; Maynard, A.; Roy, M.G.; Raphael, I. Public sector administration of ecological economics systems using mediated modeling. Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 2010, 1185, 196–210. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
- Videira, N.; Schneider, F.; Sekulova, F.; Kallis, G. Improving understanding on degrowth pathways: An exploratory study using collaborative causal models. Futures 2014, 55, 58–77. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Dawson, L.; Elbakidze, M.; Angelstam, P.; Gordon, J. Governance and management dynamics of landscape restoration at multiple scales: Learning from successful environmental managers in Sweden. J. Environ. Manag. 2017, 197, 24–40. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
- Elbakidze, M.; Dawson, L.; Andersson, K.; Axelsson, R.; Angelstam, P.; Stjernquist, I.; Teitelbaum, S.; Schlyter, P.; Thellbro, C. Is spatial planning a collaborative learning process? A case study from a rural–urban gradient in Sweden. Land Use Policy 2015, 48, 270–285. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Hovmand, P.S. Community Based System Dynamics; Springer: New York, NY, USA, 2014. [Google Scholar]
- Stave, K. Participatory System Dynamics Modeling for Sustainable Environmental Management: Observations from Four Cases. Sustainability 2010, 2, 2762–2784. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Ford, D.N.; Sterman, J. Expert Knowledge Elicitation to Improve Mental and Formal Models; Working Paper; Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Cambridge, MA, USA, 1997. [Google Scholar]
- Bogner, A.; Littig, B.; Menz, W. Introduction: Expert Interviews—An Introduction to a New Methodological Debate. In Interviewing Experts; Palgrave Macmillan: London, UK, 2009; pp. 1–13. [Google Scholar]
- Bogner, A.; Littig, B.; Menz, W. (Eds.) Interviewing Experts; Palgrave Macmillan UK: London, UK, 2009. [Google Scholar]
- Lelea, M.A. Universität Kassel, and Wissenschaftliche Betriebseinheit Tropenzentrum. In Methodologies for Stakeholder Analysis for Application in Transdisciplinary Research Projects Focusing on Actors in Food Supply Chains: Reload Reducing Losses Adding Value; DITSL: Witzenhausen, Germany, 2014. [Google Scholar]
- Barriball, K.L.; While, A. Collecting data using a semi-structured interview: A discussion paper. J. Adv. Nurs. 1994, 19, 328–335. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
- Kim, H.; Andersen, D.F. Building confidence in causal maps generated from purposive text data: Mapping transcripts of the Federal Reserve: H. Kim and D. F. Andersen: Building Confidence in Causal Maps. Syst. Dyn. Rev. 2012, 28, 311–328. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Meadows, D.H. Thinking in Systems: A Primer; Chelsea Green Publishing: Hartford, VT, USA, 2008. [Google Scholar]
|Proposed Intervention||Desired Change||Potential Unintended Consequences||Additional Leverage Points||Uncertainties and Examples of Related Questions|
|“What if training programs, workshops, and courses for forest owners are implemented?”||Through increasing forest owner self-motivation and confidence, the shift to diversified forestry would be supported.||As long as the linkage between nature values, prospects of protection, and the perceived threat to the autonomy of forest owners remain, the resulting balancing feedback might hinder the continued shift to diversified farming.||“Centralization of forest governance” (where decentralization is assumed to support a shift to diversified forestry) |
“Ease of selling forest land” (where better functioning markets are hypothesized to increase the fraction of active forest owners)
“Marginalization of women” (where efforts to ensure the inclusion of women in the forest sector would make the fraction of active forest owners increase)
|How to overcome the policy resistance created by the perceived conflict between centralized and decentralized forms of forest governance?|
|“What if industrial investments in green jobs traineeship programs were enabled?”||Investing in and communicating these activities would make the perceived legitimacy of the forestry sector increase, ultimately supporting a broader shift to a bio-based economy through a build-up of public and political support.||The “Shared definition and understanding of the bio-based economy concept” (the more developed the shared definition and understanding, the higher the public and political support for the bio-based economy)||What other measures can be taken to recognize societal values and ensure that forest management practices are aligned with these? Are negative attitudes towards mono-cultures predominant also for species other than spruce and pine (e.g., willow)?|
|“What if higher levels of wood-ash recycling were achieved?”||Nutrient circularity would be enhanced, preserving soil quality and thereby supporting production values in both diversified and industrial forestry.||Potential negative environmental impacts, such as an increasing presence of pollutants in the forest environment.||What factors govern the decision to increase wood-ash recycling?|
How to avoid potential negative environmental impacts?
|“What if investments in R&D are supported?”||Theoretical potential and capacity of the forest industry are built up, in order to facilitate a shift to high-value added production.||A lock-in effect might be created and reinforced, through innovation strengthening the current industrial structure, thereby lowering the ability for structural change.||“Ability to demonstrate added value for end consumer” (the greater the ability to demonstrate added values, the higher the shift to high-value added production) |
“Market demand for high value-added products” (the larger the market demand, the higher the shift to high-value added production)
Cost of production (the higher the cost of production, the lower the shift to high-value added production)
Initial costs (the higher the upfront cost, the lower the ability to facilitate a shift to high-value added production)
|How to leverage the theoretical potential of the bio-based economy through bringing novel applications to the market? |
What should forest biomass ideally be used for?
© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).