Eight years later: More understanding, knowledge and connections

In the Mistra-SWECIA final conference, researchers, forest owners and other stakeholders gathered to summarise the work done over the eight years of the programme. Research developments and results, collaboration initiatives and reflections about the future were shared.

Mistra-SWECIA has over the last few years focused on how to transfer knowledge to forest owners about climate, impact and adaptation, said Bengt Holgersson, chair of the Mistra-SWECIA programme board, who together with Rolf Brennerfelt, Director-General SMHI opened the conference.

– Forest owners are a very interesting group who have become increasingly aware of climate change, and Mistra-SWECIA wanted to find a good model to work with adaptation issues. I have often worked with both researchers and stakeholders, and many times have experienced that the two groups don’t talk the same language. Mistra-SWECIA has made a significant contribution so that researchers and other actors can better understand each other, said Bengt Holgersson.

Approximately 65 people met up for the conference in Stockholm. Participants for the day included researchers, forest owners, journalists, representatives from relevant governmental agencies and other organisations  – including the programme host SMHI and the funder Mistra.

Mistra-SWECIA Programme Director Markku Rummukainen made a personal reflection about being nine years older today than when he first started thinking about the programme.

– But Mistra-SWECIA has kept me young, the number of interesting and exiting people that we have met, one way or another, is thousands. People meeting one another is certainly and important outcome, he said.

The programme has been divided in two phases, and in 2012 it switched from phase 1 to 2, in order to also focus more on the world around us.

- What we do on the ground, for example in the forest, affects what Sweden as a whole can do, what Sweden can do affects the EU, and, in turn, the EU can affect what the world can do, said Markku Rummukainen

Highlights of the Mistra-SWECIA research were presented during the conference. The research concerned adaptation to climate change in forest management, global drivers and also climate economy (se further down for the full list of presentations). A number of Mistra-SWECIA PhD-students also presented their work in a “science slam” session. Tim Carter, the Finnish Environment Institute, SYKE, added to the bigger picture by a guiding the participants through the European Adaptation Landscape and placed Mistra-SWECIA in it.

The researchers expressed that Mistra-SWECIA’s interdisciplinary and collaborative approach have made a strong impression. To understand and exchange ideas with researchers from other disciplines is important, and something that can not to be taken for granted. Contact with stakeholders has proven fruitful both for the researchers understanding of research needs, and added to the broader dissemination of the results.  One reflection about the contact with forest owners came from Anna Maria Jönsson, Lund University/Mistra-SWECIA.

– It is important to take a step away from the models and talk about concrete strategies and also to be open for alternative strategies than those that emerge from the researchers offices, said Jönsson.

Åsa Gerger Swartling, SEI/Mistra-SWECIA, referred to an increased awareness about climate and adaptation, and that today there is a totally new awareness and terminology regarding climate compared to when the programme was launched in 2008. A problem-driven rather than research-driven approach is an important approach in the dialogue with different stakeholders, and it was stated repeatedly that it takes time to make people and different organisations to talk to each other.

Per Krusell, IIES/Mistra-SWECIA, made the case that their research on climate economy is “on the map” today, and their research is read by economists who might have been sceptics before. John Hassler, IIE/Mistra-SWECIAS, also talked about the importance of communication.

– We need simple models to communicate with politicians and other people, but we constantly need to update the models and make sure that the research develops.

In his closing words, Åke Iverfeldt, Mistra, also stressed the importance of communication and contact with as many people as possible. Sometimes the real impact of a programme can be seen four or five years after it has been closed – it takes time for its benefit to manifest itself in the society. Therefore it is also important to have different strategies for the future:

– You have created new research teams over the past eight years, try and keep the teams and constellations you have now.


Rolf Brennerfelt, Director-General SMHI
Bengt Holgersson, Chair of the Mistra-SWECIA programme board
Markku Rummukainen, Programme Director
Mistra-SWECIA: Mistra-SWECIA, 2008-2015 Climate, Impacts, Economy, Adaptation

Adaptation to climate change in forest management
Climate change – Patrick Samuelsson/SMHI
Local adaption of forest management to climate change – Anna Maria Jönsson/Lund University
Risk perceptions, Drivers and Communication - Experiences from participatory research involving Swedish forest owners – Åsa Gerger Swartling/SEI
Collaborations with stakeholders - Olle Olsson/SEI

Indirect effects on Sweden and the forestry sector – Henrik Carlsen/SEI
Climate change impacts on ecosystem services- Ben Smith/Lund University

PhD Presentations
Realism of extreme rainfall events in a new regional climate model - Research and Applications – David Lindstedt, Stockholm University/SMHI
Climate change adaptation processes:  Regional and sectoral stakeholder perspectives – Karin André
Modelling adaption strategies- Victor Blanco/University of Edinburgh
Essays on the Macroeconomics of Climate Change - Johan Gars, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
The global marine carbon system through time - Jenny Hieronomys/Stockholm University, SMHI
Interactions between aerosols and large-scale circulation systems in
the atmopshere - Anna Lewinschal/Stockholm University

Climate Change Around the World- Per Krusell/IIES
John Hassler, IIES
Joakim Sonnegård, Swedish Fiscal Policy Council

The European Adaptation Landscape
Tim Carter/SYKE (Finnish Environment Institute)

Göran Örlander/Södra
Johanna From/Swedish Forest Agency
Johan Litsmark/Länsförsäkringar
Mårten Larsson/Skogsindustrierna
Åke Iverfeldt/Mistra

Åke Iverfeldt, Executive Director Mistra

Moderator: Johan Kuylenstierna, Executive Director Stockholm Environment Institute