ATREEbranch in the Ukraine

Problem statement. This project will be conducted within the framework of the Swiss applicants’ recently started NFP73 Project “Analysing TRade-offs in forests between sustainable Economy and Environmental objectives” (ATREE). The ATREE project proceeds from the observation that the growing sustainable economy produces increasing trade-offs in forests, in Switzerland as well as in other European countries. For example, renewable energy facilities and the revitalization of waterways often necessitate forest clear cuttings. An increased use of wood as source of energy and substitute for other materials can lead to intensified harvesting which in turn can have negative effects on the provision of forest ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation (Zabel et al. 2018).

In Ukraine, related conflicts in forests are emerging. Wood is increasingly being extracted as source of energy that is a comparatively low cost substitute for gas, while conservationists are pushing for the creation of more forest reserves to safeguard biodiversity, in particular of the remaining old growth forests. How such trade-offs in forests are dealt with is a question of appropriate policy choice and design of governance institutions (Sandström et al. 2011).

Project objective and research questions. The aim of this project is to develop a better understanding of these nascent sustainable economy trade-offs, from the perspective of the Ukrainian forest sector. Particular emphasis will be put on investigating goal conflicts between policies that give rise to such conflicts in the Ukrainian context. The key research questions are: (i) Which sustainable economy trade-offs exist related to Ukrainian forests, (ii) Are policies (or lack thereof) fostering these trade-offs? (iii) Which policy changes could help alleviate the trade-offs?. Information will be collected through reviews of scientific and grey literature, as well as expert interviews, inter alia at a workshop in Lviv.

Ukrainian case study within ATREE. While the focus of the ATREE project is on Switzerland, four master theses will produce case studies on related trade-offs in Austria, Germany and Sweden. The Ukrainian case study will add to these, thereby widening the geographical scope and providing for a broader base of comparison and mutual learning between the countries. The various case studies will be discussed at a workshop in 2019 and will feed into an International Scientific Symposium later in the project which will serve as preparation for a special issue in an international peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Deliverables. This project will produce novel insights on sustainable economy trade-offs in Ukrainian forests. Deliverables are a master thesis as well as a resulting manuscript for submission to the peer-reviewed ATREE special issue.


  • Sandström C, Lindkvist A, Öhman K, Nordström E-M (2011) Governing Competing Demands for Forest Resources in Sweden. Forests 2:218–242. doi: 10.3390/f2010218
  • Zabel A, Schulz T, Lieberherr E (2018) Grüne Wirtschaft: Eine Annäherung an mögliche Zielkonflikte und Synergien im Wald. Schweizerische Zeitschrift fur Forstwesen 169:143–149. doi: 10.3188/szf.2018.0143