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The Scandinavian countries and Finland belong to the boreal zone that also embraces (parts of) Canada, Alaska and Russia. As mentioned in the introductory chapter, this study applies the geographical definition of ‘boreal’ as “belonging to the north” (Penguin Dictionary of Geography 2003); the boreal refers to geographical areas covered by northern coniferous forests in the corresponding climate zone with snowy winters and short summers. In Scandinavia and Finland, the boreal alternates with arctic and alpine landscapes. Almost all Swedish rural landscapes are located in the boreal zone (with the exception of the southernmost half of Skåne, cf.

Swedish National Atlas 2002), and show a mix of mainly forest and arable land, while in the north of the country there are extensive wetlands, tundra and bare rocky areas alternating with large expanses of forest (Jansson 2011a:28-35). While it is fair to say that agriculture and forestry are the major influences shaping land cover for most of the country, reindeer grazing is of importance in the north (Statistics Sweden 2008:73f.; Emanuelsson 2011a). Reindeer grazing lands cover approx. 50% of the Swedish land area, which means that reindeer also graze land areas dedicated to other land uses (Statistics Sweden 2008). In these landscapes, arable land can be seen to be a special case, distributed as smaller or larger accumulations of pasture and cropland. Forest land covers 58.2% and arable land 8.4% of the land area (Statistics Sweden 2013, Table 1). Of the arable land area, semi-natural pastures cover approximately 14%

(Swedish Forest Agency 2013). Observe that the area covered by mainly bare rock far exceeds the arable land area, and that open bogs cover an area slightly larger than the arable land area (Table 1). Swedish agriculture of today is

regionally specialised to areas with predominantly (cereals) cropping or animal husbandry (Ihse 2005; Jansson 2011a). The main crops have traditionally been hay (today less than one third of the cropland area); fodder grain (today approx. one third of the cropland area); and cereals (in the main, approx. 10% of the cropland area) (Morell 2011b). Rural land additionally embraces protected lands such as national parks and Natura 2000 areas (Statistics Sweden & Swedish Environmental Protection Agency 2012); golf courses – mainly in proximity to urban and coastal areas; ski pistes;

areas for peat harvest; and various pits (gravel, sand, rock and industrial minerals; Statistics Sweden 2013).

Table 1. Land use in Sweden (2005).

The relative figures for percentage of the land area have been calculated by the author. Sources: Statistics Sweden 2013;

Swedish Board of Agriculture 2011, 2008; Statistics Sweden

& Swedish Environmental Protection Agency 2012.

Land use in Sweden (ha) 2005

Arable land 3431336

Forest land 23888600

Build-up land and associated land 1305365

Mining and pits 47300

Golf courses and ski pistes 36050 Open bogs excl peat bogs 3867550 Natural grassland, heathland etc 3229950 Bare rock, other land 5236300

Water area 3995990

Total area 45029500

Land area 41033510

% arable land 8,4

% forest land 58,2

% build-up land 3,2

Arable land in 1919 3790496

% arable in 1919 9,2

Potential for reclaiming 700000

% potential 1,7

sum arable&potentially arable 4131336

% sum arable&potentially arable 10,1 Protected land area (2011) 4423533

% protected land (2011) 10,9

The rural land uses agriculture and forestry rely directly on the soil. In Sweden, the soils consist of unstratified glacial tills mainly deriving from primary rock, mixed with organic peat soils; lime rock and/or fine postglacial sediments influence the soils regionally or locally in a more favourable direction for agriculture (Swedish National Atlas 2002; for Nordic sedimentology, see Sporrong 2008, which includes a generalized land cover map, p. 582). Agriculture in boreal landscapes is constrained by the occurrence of stones, boulders and rocks, as well as by wetlands and the Scandinavian climate (cf. Messing 2011;

Statistics Sweden 2008). One typical feature of the climate is that there are large inter- and intra-annual variations such as dry or wet summers (Messing 2011).

The Swedish boreal forests of today can seldom be called native. Forestry interests targeting economic returns and unimpeded access to timber have transformed much productive forest land into dense spruce stands of equal height, cut across by an extensive network of roads and tracks (Statistics Sweden 2008:19; Axelsson 2001). During the 20th century, forests have become denser and historical infield land has been afforested, although it has sometimes been converted to cropland (Flygare 2011a).

Especially in Northern Sweden, the transformation of the land cover due to rational forestry production has been characterized as dramatic (Josefsson & Östlund 2011). This development must be seen against the backdrop of what was the poor condition of forests at the end of the 19th century; the dense stands represent a century-long effort to manage the timber stock (Kempe 2011) in order to safeguard the interests of the forestry industry (which is an important component of the Swedish economy).

Due to the promotion of rational land use in agriculture and forestry, today’s boreal landscapes often display vast stretches of

single-type land covers, and sharp borders between arable and forest lands (Figs. 2-4, see also the photos on the front cover).

Figure 2. Border between Arable Land and Forest

Figure 3. Vast Openness of an Arable Field

Figure 4. Open and Closed areas in a Landscape with Arable and Forestry Land Uses

The forest and arable lands of the present day originate in part from lands that were previously wetter, if not directly classifiable as wetlands.

The extensive meadows of previous times were wet (Ihse 2005) and productive land has been gained via drainage and a large-scale lowering of the water level of lakes (Emanuelsson 2011b). In their review of national budget propositions during 1900–2000, Antonson & Larsson (2011) uncover extensive economic support from the

state during the first half of the 20th century for initiatives concerned with making the land drier – support that fuelled the construction of drainage systems on a range of land cover types, from arable and wetlands to forest22. The support was aimed at mitigating frost damage, and later also at securing employment (Antonson

& Larsson 2011:134ff.).

The authors describe their impression after ploughing through the documents:

“The large allocations targeted at land improvements provide a picture of Sweden as enormously stony, wet and impassable, the latter two also applying to the forest.” (Antonson &

Larsson 2011:140, my translation).

Reclaiming wetlands and mosses for arable use represents an example of anthropogenic ecosystem change, while it is also about landscape change, creating the cultural landscape which denotes “the natural landscape as modified by human activities” (Penguin Dictionary of Geography, cultural landscape)23. This definition of the cultural landscape characterizes a global situation, since most parts of the globe have been modified by human activities (cf. Aspinall &

Hill 2008a). Correspondingly, the dictionary continues its definition of cultural landscape by saying that the term can be seen to refer to “most

22 On this issue, Antonson & Larsson (2011) do not provide the reader with a final date when support to such initiatives stopped appearing as items in the national budget; it seems that these activities were financially supported by the state at least through the 1950’s.

23 The Penguin Dictionary of Geography defines the “natural landscape [as] the landscape as unaffected by human activities, i.e. the physical landscape (including relief and natural vegetation) as opposed to the cultural landscape. But human activities have been so widespread that little ’natural landscape’

thus defined still exists, and it can be said that nearly all landscape is now cultural; thus it is perhaps preferable to refer to the natural and cultural elements in the landscape”.

of the present landscape, there being very few parts of the world now unaffected by such activity”

(Penguin Dictionary of Geography, cultural landscape). This is of course true of boreal landscapes, too, the draining of many mosses for arable land being only part of the transformation that the Swedish landscape has experienced. In other words, seen in the context of rural natural resource management, farming both enhances and exploits natural processes and ecosystems (Jansen 2011), and consequently, agriculture and forestry can be regarded as having had both positive and negative effects on the environment and landscape (SOU 2001:38; Emanuelsson 2011b).

Notwithstanding the draining of land for arable use, in overall terms the localisation of arable land has been assessed as rather stable since the 16th century (Hägerstrand 1988:20ff.). The acreage classed as arable land peaked at approximately 3.8 million hectares during the period from the 1920s to the 1950s (see Table 1;

Swedish Board of Agriculture 2011). The expansion of the arable land area continued until the 1950’s in northern Sweden and the Baltic island of Gotland, but ended earlier in southern parts of the country (Morell 2011b). Today, the area assessed as potentially reclaimable and the currently existing arable land area taken together amount to 10.1 % of the land area (approximately 4.1 million hectares, Swedish Board of Agriculture 2008, Table 1).

Boreal Landscape Change

Transferring land from one land cover type to another can be either radical and abrupt, such as in the case of forest clearance when a forest stand is ‘replaced’ by cropland (see cover photo), or more subtle such as in the case of abandoned cropland on which bushes and trees start to

regrow. Where arable land has been taken out of production, this has mostly been due to afforestation or to a passive abandonment of the land, leading to forest regrowth. During the second half of the 20th century, the general impression was that of a continuously advancing loss of arable land (Jansson 2011a; Börjesson 2006), approximately 26% of what was cropland area in 1950 is today in other use (Statistics Sweden 2008). This loss of arable land has occurred in conjunction with a substantial decrease in the rural population and employment opportunities in agriculture, at the same time as there has been a large population increase, mainly occurring in urban areas (Jansson & Pettersson 2011). In other words, Sweden has experienced a dramatic redistribution of population from rural to urban areas. Today, sparsely populated rural land areas classed as rural periphery cover two thirds of the country (SOU 2001:38 p. 64). This is naturally reflected in a dramatic drop by 75% in the number of agricultural enterprises during the 20th century (Flygare 2011a). Since the 1990s, the dynamics of rural land-use change have been

“more difficult to interpret” (SOU 2001:38 p. 43, my translation): for example, stabilization in the total area of grazing land has been reported for recent decades (Swedish Board of Agriculture 2011).

The counter movement of clearing forest land for arable use – while it does not, in the boreal context, represent a threat of similar magnitude as in tropical rainforest areas – is nevertheless a problematic issue in today’s environmental debate on boreal ecosystem change, due to the loss of forest ecosystems, in terms of climate change and surface runoff, and because of risking to damage not-yet-documented historical relics in forests (Amér, pers. comm.; Ståhlberg, pers.

comm.; Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry 2011; Kivimaa et al 2012; I also rely on

Lehtonen, pers. comm.). The issue of land clearance, especially with regard to clearing organic peat mosses for arable use, is thus controversial. The seriousness of the issue is illustrated by the steering measures that have been proposed in Finland, which include excluding arable land on organic soils from agricultural subsidies, and prohibiting reclamation of organic soils (Kivimaa et al 2012).24 In Sweden, there are no published statistics on forest clearance for agriculture for the period since 1950 (cf. Swedish Board of Agriculture 2011:27f.), while the farmer interviews conducted for this study suggest that land clearance continued on the ground after the 1950s. Recent documentation shows that forests are being cleared for arable use all over Sweden (Solbär 2011).

Figure 5. Various ‘Opens’ in a Landscape An arable field (left), clearance lot (right), forest-felling lots in background.

The clear-cutting practices in modern forestry stand out as a parallel to the effects of forest clearance on land cover. Clear-cut forest land remains classified as forest land, but when subjected to this practice, defined as

‘regeneration felling’, the land abruptly changes into large open areas that persist for decades as

24 Still, during the period 1995–2006 in Finland, about half of the acreage cleared for arable use was on peat soils, Kivimaa and colleagues suggest – even though, from the officially-stated national viewpoint, clearing as such is deemed unnecessary (there is no need for more arable land) and clearing areas of organic soils is regarded as non-desirable (Kivimaa et al 2012:36–41).

bald patches in the midst of forests (Fig. 5, Lisberg Jensen 2011; Bäckström 2011). Yet, it appears that the largest impact on forests is by road construction (both highways and forestry roads), according to an assessment of forest clearance during 2009–2012 (Solbär, in prep).

Together with the land-cover effect of urban sprawl (Börjesson 2006), the expansion of the road network might represent the most significant on-going process of rural land use change (Solbär, in prep). Finally, land covers are also modified by shifts in management practices such as abandonment of forest grazing or the removal of landscape elements such as stone-walls, hedgerows, cairns or open ditches.

Land cover conversion is reflected in a shift from one tax category to another. Land clearance on a farm estate is likely to increase the value of the real estate, since the land use categories are evaluated based on the expected productivity of land (Bohlin & Prado 2011:117f.). During the 1990s and 2000s, the prices of arable land increased, and they are currently high in all parts of the country – although large differences exist between the south and the north of the country (Statistics Sweden 2012a; Johansson & Nilsson 2012).

During a five-year period, 1990–1995, a programme to free Swedish agriculture from subsidized production was in place (called in Swedish Omställning 90); it was interrupted by Sweden's accession to the European Union in 1995. The programme included support to take arable land out of production, a measure motivated by previous overproduction of especially cereals (Morell 2011c; SOU 2001:38).

A farmer, also the secretary of a local office of the Swedish Farmers' Union, – referring to developments in land cover in his region during the 1990s – told me that on many farms, arable land was abandoned during the five years of the liberalisation program, and then, when Sweden

joined the European Union in 1995, all land that could possibly be reclaimed was taken back into production, because the EU agricultural subsidies meant that arable use produced clearly higher returns than pulpwood.25 Although it is only a limited example, this story indicates that policy may, in specific situations, exert a direct effect on land cover, not only in terms of the selection of crops, but in inducing shifts between open and ‘closed’ land.

In conjunction with this programme for the de-subsidisation of agriculture, the previously legislated maintenance requirement for arable land was relaxed (SOU 2001:38 pp. 33, 91ff.).

Since the 1970s regulations had been in place stipulating that existing arable fields should be maintained and properly managed, with field afforestation or other removal of arable land requiring prior permission from the authorities.

This legislation was first softened, and then the management requirements were lifted completely in 1990/91 (SOU 2001:38 pp. 33, 91). Today, management obligations concerning arable land exist according to the land use class of the land – i.e. whether the land is used for crops or pasture – and they are solely tied to the agricultural payment system. On cropland, the regulations stipulate that ploughing must be possible without special preparation, and that the land must be kept free from perennial regrowth and should have a sown crop;

additionally, drainage is to be maintained to prevent fields from turning swampy (Swedish Board of Agriculture 2013a; Persson 2005:18;

Lingegård 2005:17). Pastures and meadows must be kept free from perennial regrowth, and be grazed (pastures) or mowed and harvested (meadows) on an annual basis (Swedish Board of

25 E-mail communication, June 2010.

Agriculture 2013a; Persson 2005:18; Lingegård 2005:17).

Due to the separation of farm payments from production in 2005 under the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union, there was a rise in both the area under subsidized cultivation and the number of farmers applying, at least regionally and at least temporarily (Lundberg 2005; Umeflod, pers. comm.). In northern Sweden, a dramatic increase in the number of applicants and in the area applied for was recorded when the separation was implemented in 2005 (Lingegård 2005;

Umeflod, pers. comm.).26 Subsequently, this increase waned to some degree (Umeflod pers.

comm.). For Skåne in southern Sweden, where several of the farms I have studied are located, there was similarly an increase of applicants from 2004 to 2005 (Trellman, pers. comm.).27

An official at the County Administrative Board of Norrbotten, the northernmost county in the country, describes in a farmers' journal how the new applicants included both previously non-eligible farms/farmers, and landholders who had taken back land from leaseholders in order to manage it themselves in a low-intensive manner

26 The number of applicants increased in 2005 by 67 % in the County of Västerbotten and 60 % in the County of Norrbotten compared to 2004; and the area applied for increased from 2004 to 2005 by 7 % in the County of Västerbotten and 10 % in the County of Norrbotten. The fields in question were mainly used for hay or lay fallow (Lingegård 2005:17).

27 The number of applicants in Skåne, the southernmost county of Sweden (half of the land area of which can be counted as boreal) increased between 2004 and 2005 from approx. 9200 to approx. 11 000 (Trellman, pers. comm.).

Concerning the areal increase, comparisons are difficult, Trellman maintains, as the agricultural payment scheme in place until 2004 and that in force from 2005 onwards are not fully comparable – under the old system, areal payments applied to cropland only, while the current farm payments apply to both cropland and pasture.

(Lingegård 2005). The article asserts that the main reason for the rise in the number of applications is that, in contrast to the previous rules, no agricultural production is required from the land; it was enough to keep the land in an arable state Lingegård 2005). In other words, applicants without (plans for) agricultural production have now become eligible for farm payments (Trellman, pers. comm.). In addition, the system in place with payment entitlements was also a factor, as landholders were afraid of losing their entitlements to leaseholders and/or of falling outside the system (Trellman, pers.


Who Manages the Land?

Any rural landscape is comprised of socio-legal domains, distributing land rights among these domains, such as the farm estate in Sweden (Nyström & Tonell 2012). Here, private land ownership is the predominant mode of organising land use. Land ownership comes with extensive rights to use the land resources of the property owned; a landholder is also expected to take responsibility for necessary land management (Nyström & Tonell 2012:39;

Jensen 2001; Jermsten 2001; Morell 2011a;

Flygare 2011a; SOU 2001:38 p. 27). It is the landholders, to whom Hägerstrand (1993) assigns terrain competence, meaning the qualification to dig the soil for gravel, to cut down and sell the trees, to till the land etc.

Historically speaking – i.e. since the late 19th century – the management of farms and land in Sweden has been organised in the form of family farming (Jansson & Wästfelt 2010:124f.; Flygare 2011a). The rationalisation and effectivisation programmes carried out since 1948 have accordingly targeted income improvements for the farmer (household), too (Morell 2011c).

However, the effectivisation achieved in farming via investments in on-farm technology and in the land has led to increases in farm estate prices (Bohlin & Prado 2011:129). The family’s position appears weakened, despite the rise in the values of landed properties. The farmer interviews indicate that arranging for a farm to be handed down in the family has become difficult and a source of concern, since buying out the other farm heirs, if there are any, or purchasing a farm on the open market, have become very expensive for an individual person.

The Swedish rural landscape is managed via private landed properties; many of the corporations, included in the group of rural landholders, are small, private and family-based Flygare (2011b). It is difficult to give concrete figures concerning the number of people managing the Swedish rural landscape, due to the categorization the accounting uses for ownership and use of rural estates. The main

categories of farm estate ownership are individual owners, privately owned companies, other private and public corporations, and the state.

In 2008, 78.1% of the land area was distributed among ‘farm estates’ and covered by arable or forest lands including non-productive forest, 41.2% of the land area was managed under individual ownership, including estates after deceased persons (Statistics Sweden 2012b; my calculation, see Table 2). Rural land is owned under the term ‘farm estate’ − a unit that embraces at least c. two hectares of land; the farm estate category by definition excludes smaller landed properties, those comprising a house and a garden only. Only two thirds of 366,330 farm estates in 2007 were what are called built-up farm estates including a farmhouse (n=224,748, or 61%) (Statistics Sweden 2007); the non-built-up farm estates mostly contain forest land only (Flygare 2011a).

Table 2. Real Estate Taxation 2008.

Source: Statistics Sweden 2012b.

While the farm estate comprises a legal unit, it can be owned by a varying number of private persons, or be in corporate ownership. The number of such units, de facto organising the management of the rural landscape, can be contrasted against the total population in Sweden that was 9,256,347 persons as of December 2008 (Statistics Sweden 2010b). The

category of built-up farm estate can include second homes. A farm estate generally includes ownership of both cropland and forest land (SOU 2001:38 p. 27); additional cropland might be managed on lease, which is often the case when the owner is running an agricultural enterprise (Morell 2011a). This means that farm ownership and practical involvement in

Land use classes (ha) on farm estates Cropland Pasture Forest UnprodForest Total % of land area

Ownership category 2008 2008 2008 2008

Private persons 2522627 635698 10892877 2580114 16631316 40.5

Estates after deceased 27116 7651 185650 63080 283497 0.7 41.2 Private persons

State 12927 9177 666950 1203430 1892484 4.6

Municipalities, county councils 58283 18799 312386 59254 448722 1.1

Church of Sweden 2806 576 29880 6839 40101 0.1

Sw. companies 69883 32192 8788634 1893865 10784574 26.3

Other legal persons 80496 22986 1431050 410168 1944700 4.7 36.8 Corporations

Unknown 4898 1482 28215 2802 37397 0.1

All owner categories 2779036 728561 22335642 6219552 32062791 78.1

agricultural and forestry-related land use activities are not necessarily one and the same thing. Neither does the category ‘farm estate’

does not contain all farmhouses in a rural landscape; for example properties with parcelled-off farmhouses are not categorized as farm estates unless they contain more than two hectares of land − farmhouses are often parcelled off when agricultural land changes owners (Gunnarsson, interview).

Again, to specify concretely the number of agricultural enterprises that take care of the arable land in the country is difficult, due to the categories used in the published statistics on agricultural enterprises. It is not possible to distinguish enterprises managing only forest land from those managing both forest and arable land or those managing only arable land. This has been confirmed by Karlsson (pers. comm.).

Additional difficulty arises from the fact that the category ‘agricultural enterprise’ embraces one-man enterprises and farm enterprises formed as agricultural companies, and includes gardening and greenhouse production (Swedish Board of Agriculture 2011). An agricultural enterprise can own several farm estates (Swedish Board of Agriculture 2011). The arable land is mainly owned by private persons, according to the Real Estate Taxation 2008 (Statistics Sweden 2012b, Table 2). In 2007, the number of agricultural enterprises managing forest and arable land was 72,609 (Agricultural Census 2007). Of the total, 43,389 enterprises (59.8%) managed more than 40 ha of cropland and at least 5 ha of forest, which are the next-smallest categories after the category zero (Note: pasture area is omitted in this statistic). These enterprises managed 2,979,691 ha of cropland and forest land, while the total of all agricultural enterprises managed 6,356,478 ha (Agricultural Census 2007). This means that only approximately one fifth of the land area distributed under the farm estates is

managed by agricultural enterprises, indicating that land ownership focusing on agriculture as a way of living is held in a few hands only. Taken together the rural land use situation can be interpreted as indicating that agricultural enterprises manage several farm estates through a combination of ownership and leasehold. In this way, by leasing in or out, landholders either expand or reduce the area under their immediate responsibility. Lease agreements provide dynamics and flexibility in what, overall, is a stable ownership structure (Flygare 2011a:65).

Landscape Governance and Land Policy

Landholders with terrain competence over a single domain can be contrasted with the spatially competent authorities governing larger territories, such as municipal and county authorities or national sectorial authorities such as the Swedish Board of Agriculture or the Swedish Forest Agency (cf. Hägerstrand 1993:45-51). Binding international agreements such as the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union or the trade regulations of the World Trade Organisation can be assigned to this category, in my interpretation, as all of these act in the ‘abstract space’ of spatial competence.

While the state regulates, imposes taxes and monitors land use (activities), at the kitchen table in the farmhouse or on the field a farm estate owner retains concrete space for free choice of action concerning farm and land management. Hägerstrand (1993:48f.) argues that the doings in households and working places such as farms/farm enterprises have room for negotiation of regulatory prescriptions, as there is a difference in competence – terrain competence vs. spatial competence – between landholders undertaking practical actions and the directives formulated on paper by officials in

the territorial hierarchy of government administration. Domon & Bouchard (2007) make in their study an observation concurrent with the observations developed by Hägerstrand in the idea of the two types of competence:

“As elsewhere, the agro-forested landscapes of [the study area] are not the result of deliberate landscape policies, but rather of the dominant types of occupation and land uses.” (Domon & Bouchard 2007:1204)

National legislation is in the main enacted and administered by the sectorial authorities and via delegation to the County Administrative Boards (n=21), leading in practice to territorial variation in the implementation of the national legislation (as stated for example in SOU 2001:38 p. 71).

Further, in Sweden, municipal authorities hold a land-use planning monopoly (Nyström &

Tonell 2012). As all of Sweden is divided into municipal territories, one might expect there to be municipal plans over rural land use. Yet, such planning is rare in Sweden, municipal planning activities mostly being directed towards the more populous and built-up areas, in which land-use interests might be more pressing and contested.

Through a recent change in legislation, municipalities have lost their right of first refusal when farm estates are put up for sale (Gunnarsson, interview), which means that rural land might more seldom be tactically purchased by municipalities.

The Swedish state also represents public interests, and may give these precedence before private interests – such as ruling in favour of land expropriation for large infrastructure projects or nature protection. Despite the ‘airy’

character of the government’s competence to initiate changes in land cover/use, it is important to revisit the relevant legislation to understand how it frames the single farmers’ activities that will be discussed in this thesis.

Most regulatory power concerning the rather

‘un-planned-for’ rural land use emanates directly from national legislation on land acquisition (Land Acquisition Act, SFS 1979:230) and real property formation (Real Property Act, SFS 1970:988), and from government directives concerning productive land and the ‘protection’

of agriculture and forestry as local livelihoods (regulations concerning management of protected areas are excluded from this discussion). Additionally, economic policy (agricultural and forestry policies) and environmental regulations (the Environmental Code, Chapter 12) are important in steering farming as such. Further, to touch shortly on forestry policy: since 1903, the forest owner has been under the obligation to care for forest regrowth (Enander 2011). Through the forest policy revision in 1993, production and environmental objectives were assigned equal importance, and more responsibility for long-term sustainability was laid on the forest owner (Swedish Government 2012:13). A similar general trend is expressed in other aspects of land policy, too: the ‘freedom’ of single landholders has become more pronounced since the 1990s, as will become evident below. More recently, agriculture receives support for the provision of

‘services’ in environmental and regional development (SOU 2001:38 pp. 34f.; Jansson 2011b; Emanuelsson 2011c).

Rural land policy has been geared towards keeping together farm estate ownership, the function of the farm as a place of living, and active land use (SOU 2001:38 p. 32). The Land Acquisition Act concerns farm estate ownership;

it aims at maintaining a balance between private and legal persons' land ownership, and at promoting living and working opportunities in peripheral rural areas (SFS 1979:230; Swedish Board of Agriculture 2013b). Typically, farm estate ownership is kept in the family; out of