Environmental Forestry Conflicts in Five European Countries and Parts of the USA

Environmental forestry conflicts are regarded as one important source of pressure for revisions of forest policy and forest management. Subsequently, a strong research tradition has grown around environmental conflict research, emphasising the investigation of the appearances and dynamics of individual conflicts within individual societies from a micro-sociological point of view.

This project aimed at expanding this tradition by comparing environmental forestry conflicts in different societies from a macro-sociological point of view. It is based on the notion that each society has its own cultural ways of producing and managing environmental forestry conflicts, depending on the social, economic, political and physical environment of each society. The purpose of the study was:

  • to describe environmental forestry conflicts and the discourse on such conflicts between 1984-95 in five European countries (Finland, France, Norway, Sweden, and West-Germany) and two regions in USA (Minnesota and the Pacific Northwest);
  • to analyse how the conflicts are related to various societal aspects, such as values, policies, markets and resource uses;
  • to evaluate the implications of the findings to conflict management strategies;
  • to develop and test a new hermeneutic approach to the method of Qualitative Comparative Analysis.


The study was based on a total of 211 focused interviews of people representing multiple interests related to forest management and protection. For analysing the data, a new hermeneutic application is developed for the method of Qualitative Comparative Analysis. As a result of the analysis, a model of conflict cultures was constructed, and implications to conflict management strategies and forest policy were discussed.

Project publications include Eeva Hellström's Academic Dissertation "Conflict Cultures - Qualitative Comparative Analysis of Environmental Conflicts in Forestry" (2001).

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