No polarization–Expected Values of Climate Change Impacts among European Forest Professionals and Scientists

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The role of values in climate-related decision-making is a prominent theme of climatecommunication research. The present study examines whether forest professionals are more drivenby values than scientists are, and if this results in value polarization. A questionnaire was designedto elicit and assess the values assigned to expected effects of climate change by forest professionalsand scientists working on forests and climate change in Europe. The countries involved covered anorth-to-south and west-to-east gradient across Europe, representing a wide range of bio-climaticconditions and a mix of economic–social–political structures. We show that European forestprofessionals and scientists do not exhibit polarized expectations about the values of specific impactsof climate change on forests in their countries. In fact, few differences between forest professionalsand scientists were found. However, there are interesting differences in the expected values of orest professionals with regard to climate change impacts across European countries. In NorthernEuropean countries, the aggregated values of the expected effects are more neutral than they are inSouthern Europe, where they are more negative. Expectations about impacts on timber production,economic returns, and regulatory ecosystem services are mostly negative, while expectations aboutbiodiversity and energy production are mostly positive.


  • Johannes Persson
  • Kristina Blennow
  • Luisa Goncalves
  • Alexander Borys
  • Ioan Dutca
  • Jari Hynynen
  • Emilia Janeczko
  • Mariyana Lyobenova
  • Simon Martel
  • Jan Merganic
  • Katarina Merganicova
  • Mikko Peltoniemi
  • Michal Petr
  • Fernando Reboredo
  • Giorgio Vacchiano
  • Christopher Reyer
External organisations
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • Polytechnic Institute of Leiria
  • Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
  • Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)
  • Warsaw University of Life Sciences
  • University of Sofia
  • Transylvania University Brasov
  • Technical University in Zvolen
  • New University of Lisbon
  • University of Milan
  • INRA National Institute of Agricultural Research
  • Forest Research, Northern Research Station
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Climate Research


  • climate change impacts, decision-making, risk perception, homogeneity of expected values, value polarization, strength of expected values
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Mar 27
Publication categoryResearch

Total downloads

No data available