The twelfth EPRC webinar of the 2021, and the last of this Spring/Summer semester, was held June 24th (11:00 – 12:00 UK) over Zoom. Dr. Diana Morales, Postdoctoral Fellow at Karlstad University (Sweden), presented on the topic “Green Policies for Green Transformation in Sparsely Populated Regions of Europe”.

Morales presented the most relevant findings of the research project ‘The forest-based bioeconomy and opportunities of regional green growth in sparsely populated areas’. Through the study of the forest-based bioeconomy in Värmland (Sweden) and Lapland (Finland), the project looks at the geographical conditions that allow these regions to implement a sustainable bioeconomy agenda, yet with a critical approach to the notions of sustainability and economic growth.

The smart specialization strategies of these regions were analysed, and the main findings presented are divided in two areas:

A focus on forest bioeconomy in both regions was the chosen route for economic growth in rural areas: replacing fossil fuels with forest biomass to address climate change while stimulating economic growth, rural development and the modernisation of the forestry industry. However, some strategies addressing the region’s main economic actors in the forest-based bioeconomy are not necessarily innovative. Still, S3 served to articulate otherwise isolated or unconnected efforts, gather them under the same expectations and a common language to facilitate communication, collaboration and agreements.

Dr. Diana Morales holds a PhD in economic geography from CURDS at Newcastle University. She recently finished a postdoctoral position at the Centre for Sustainable Societal Transformations at Karlstad University (Sweden). Her areas of research are regional sustainable transformations, local development and diverse economies.

Morales’ presentation can be accessed here, and the recording of the webinar can be viewed on the EPRC’s YouTube page here.

Our webinar series will come back in September, delving on topics of regional policy, development and sustainability.

If you would like to attend, watch out for updates and registrations by following @eprc_eu on Twitter.