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Ambio. 2017 Dec;46(8):878-893. doi: 10.1007/s13280-017-0924-8. Epub 2017 Jun 1.

Mapping policies for surface water protection zones on forest land in the Nordic-Baltic region: Large differences in prescriptiveness and zone width.

Author information

  • 1Skogforsk (The Forestry Research Institute of Sweden), Uppsala Science Park, 751 83, Uppsala, Sweden.
  • 2Södertörn University, Alfred Nobels Allé 7, Flemingsberg, 141 89, Huddinge, Sweden.
  • 3Department of Political Science, Umeå University, 901 87, Umeå, Sweden.
  • 4University of Akureyri, Sólborg v/Nordurslod, 600, Akureyri, Iceland.
  • 5Natural Resources Institute Finland-Luke, Yliopistokatu 6, 80100, Joensuu, Finland.
  • 6LSFRI Silava, Rigas Street 111, Salaspils, 2169, Latvia.
  • 7Institute of Ecology, School of Natural Sciences and Health, Tallinn University, Uus-Sadama 5, 10120, Tallinn, Estonia.
  • 8Faculty of Forest Science, Department of Soil and Environment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 7014, 75007, Uppsala, Sweden.
  • 9University of Copenhagen, Rolighedsvej 23, 1958, Frederiksberg C, Denmark.
  • 10Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, Pb. 115, 1431, Ås, Norway.


The forest landscape across the Nordic and Baltic regions hosts numerous lakes and watercourses, which must be included in forest management. In this study, national policy designs regarding protection zones for surface waters on forest land were reviewed and compared for the Nordic countries, Estonia and Latvia. The focus was how each country regulates protection zones, whether they are voluntary or mandatory, and the rationale behind adopting a low or high degree of prescriptiveness. Iceland and Denmark had a low degree of policy prescriptiveness, whereas Norway, Estonia and Latvia had a high degree of prescriptiveness. Sweden and Finland relied to a large extent on voluntary commitments. The prescribed zone widths within the region ranged from 1 m to 5 km. The results indicated that land-use distribution, forest ownership structure and historical and political legacies have influenced the varying degrees of prescriptiveness in the region.


Buffer; Certification; Forestry; Guidelines; Legislation; Riparian

[Available on 2018-12-01]
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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