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Risk governance through professional expertise. Forestry consultants’ handling of uncertainties after a storm disaster

Rolf Lidskog and Daniel Sjödin

Journal of Risk Research, 2016, vol. 19, issue 10, 1275-1290

Abstract: How do forestry consultants provide advice when facing a situation of great uncertainty? This question serves as the point of departure in analyzing how forestry consultants provide guidance in extreme situations. Three empirical cases are analyzed, all related to a storm that caused the most severe damage in Swedish history. The first case concerns how forestry consultants handled the immediate uncertainties in their advice on how to manage the windthrow. The second case concerns how they handled the risks associated with the large-scale timber depots that resulted from the decision to transport all windthrown trees away from the forest. The third case concerns how forestry consultants handled uncertainties regarding the reforestation of the area. Whereas there was discursive closure in the two first cases, and the forest owners followed the recommendations made by the forestry consultants, there was no discursive closure in the third case, resulting in the forest owners deciding against the advice provided by the consultants. In conclusion, this result is explained with reference to the epistemic authority and embodied knowledge of the forestry consultants.

Date: 2016
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