Power analysis as a tool to analyse trade-offs between ecosystem services in forest management : A case study from nine European countries

Juerges, Nataly; Arts, Bas; Masiero, Mauro; Hoogstra-Klein, Marjanke; Borges, José G.; Brodrechtova, Yvonne; Brukas, Vilis; Canadas, Maria João; Carvalho, Pedro Ochôa; Corradini, Giulia; Corrigan, Edwin; Felton, Adam; Karahalil, Uzay; Karakoc, Uğur; Krott, Max; Laar, Jim van; Lodin, Isak; Lundholm, Anders; Makrickienė, Ekaterina; Marques, Marlene; Mendes, Américo; Mozgeris, Gintautas; Novais, Ana; Pettenella, Davide; Pivoriūnas, Nerijus; Sarı, Burak


Forests are of major importance to people, providing fundamental ecosystem services (ESs). Increasing the supply of an ES might negatively affect the supply of another ES. For example, increasing game densities might reduce timber production. Such trade-offs among ESs may lead to conflicts between actors interested in prioritizing different ESs. This study describes which actors dominated conflicts about ES trade-offs, and which power strategies they used to do so. Forest management practices and resulting trade-offs between ESs differ widely among the studied countries: Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovakia, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Turkey. We triangulated 220 qualitative interviews, literature review, document analysis, and participatory observations. We mapped the interests of actors in ESs and identified conflicts between interests. We tested three hypotheses about which actors were more or less powerful, enabling them to be winners and losers in ES conflicts. Cultural and regulating and maintenance ESs played an important role in conflicts about forest ES trade-offs. We identified the power relations of actors with different interests in ES. Local interests often dominated national interests. Actors interested in provisioning ESs had strong power resources but because of specific bio-geophysical, political or economic conditions, actors with interest in regulating and maintenance ES or cultural ESs can have equal or stronger power resources. The study highlights the relevance of including power analysis in ES research.