Water, forests, people – building resilient landscapes

Policy Brief Published: August 2015

The SIWI Swedish Water House Cluster Group for Water and Forests started with a mission to highlight the importance of forests and sustainable forest management for secure water resources globally. Discussions led to the conclusion that establishing resilient landscapes is the most promising way forward and that Swedish experience and knowledge have the potential to make a substantial contribution.

KEY LESSONS LEARNED

  • Forests play a crucial role in the hydrological cycle, influence the amount of water available, regulate surface and ground- water flows and maintain high water quality.
  • Forest landscape restoration could be instrumental in significantly reducing poverty in rural areas.
  • Sweden’s massive forest restoration project, which started more than a century ago, has built a thriving natural resource base from largely depleted forests.
  • An enabling institutional and policy environment, and involvement of stakeholders, have been important features for the successful restoration of the Swedish forest landscape.
  • The Swedish forest resource base has valuable experience and knowledge in sustainable forest management and restoration.
  • There are still areas in need of improvement in Swedish forestry and water resource management.
  • The formation of the Swedish National forest programme as well as the revival of the Swedish Policy for Global Development provide opportunities to develop a Swedish policy for enhanced and coordinated participation in, and contribution to, the urgent restoration of global forest landscapes, and integration of water resource management.