Green forests policies: a comparative assessment of outcomes and trade-offs across Fenno-Scandinavia (GreenPole)

The GreenPole project focuses on forest policies and compares the governance approaches across Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark over the last 20 years. The focus lies on assessing the effectiveness of past and present policy mixes that affect forest management and thus the quantity and quality of Nordic forests. 

In particular, the project will evaluate policy outcomes in terms of synergies and trade-offs across forest productivity, biodiversity, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and additional societal demands such as recreational values or water filtration capacities. GreenPole will employ a novel mixed-method approach that integrates various disciplines from political science, forest business management, climate science, environmental sciences, and ecology.

In particular, the policy evaluations will make use of the latest quantitative methods for causal inference, state-of-the-art qualitative methods to integrate expert knowledge, ecological modelling to integrate interaction effects of climate and biodiversity, and life-cycle assessments to track carbon along the value chain of forest products. This interdisciplinary, mixed-method approach can be called an integrated policy assessment. As such, it does not only contribute to the development of knowledge within each discipline but essentially advances a comprehensive understanding of socio-ecological forest systems.

By conducting the integrated policy assessment from a comparative perspective and identifying particularly effective governance approaches, the GreenPole project will identify empirically founded lessons and formulate non-prescriptive policy advice. The project will thereby provide an empirical evidence base for mutual learning for sustainable forest management in the Nordic countries with a consideration of global value chains.

By exploring potential future pathways along scenarios for climate change and governance approaches, the GreenPole project will develop and disseminate visions for the transition of Nordic forest systems towards a green and inclusive economy.


The GreenPole project is organized in 5 different work packages (WP) which will carry out the project's 4 main objectives:

Objective I: Develop a comprehensive socio-ecological system understanding

Work in WP2 will develop a comprehensive understanding of the socio-ecological system including the interests of stakeholders. Furthermore, WP2 will develop a database of relevant policy mixes and individual policy instruments. It sets the base for subsequent analysis by identifying suitable indicators to quantify economic, ecological, and social outcomes, and verifying data suitability and availability. 

Objective II: Develop an integrated assessment model framework

In WP3, the core conceptual development and model integration will take place. The goal is to let the different models “talk” to each other by developing specific model interfaces, outlining data processing sequences. It will mainly cover the climate, biodiversity, and trade models, but reaches into the agent-based modelling of forest users.

Objective III: Draw causal inference on policy interventions

In WP4, the GreenPole project will assess policy outcomes from both a quantitative and a qualitative, comparative perspective. It contains work on theory testing through agent-based modelling, quantitative causal inference, and structural equation modelling. All of these will essentially be informed by the socio-ecological system understanding.

Objective IV: Derive evidence-based advice for future policy mix designs

A transdisciplinary outreach strategy (TOS) will be developed and implemented. 


UCPH FOOD participants

Other project participants


  • The Environmental Politics Research Group (EPRG) in the Department of Political Science at Lund University

  • The Centre for Environmental and Climate Research (CEC) at Lund University

  • The Forest Bioeconomy, Business and Sustainability research group (FBBS) at the Department of Forest Sciences at Helsinki University

  • The Eco-Industrial System Analysis Unit (EISA) at the Department of Environmental Science at Aarhus University


Funded by:

NordForsk loog

GreenPole has received a four year funding from NordForsk

Project: GreenPole
Period:  January 1st, 2021 - December 31st, 2024
Total budget: 14,997,538 NOK