The University of Arizona

SandLife and the death of dunes: political ecology discourses from conservation to restoration in Haverdal, Sweden

Mikael S-O Ring


This study concerns narratives and practices developed within landscape management in a Natura 2000 area in the south-west of Sweden. This European Union-funded project shifted focus from morphological and passive conservation management to intervening in biological management. I investigate some of the consequences of re-politicized discourses and practices during this period. I ask how a traditional policy view on conservation was handled during this change, and what role EU funding has in preserving or changing a traditional management policy for landscape conservation. The conclusions are that landscape protection is driven by political and ideological values connected with institutionalized aesthetic components that are adjusted to whatever disciplinary focus prevails at the time. However, traditional approaches are retained, excluding participatory methods and the social dimensions on landscape management. To some extent, the available EU funding leverages alignment of project goals and management, influencing landscape alteration.  

Keywords: SandLife, political ecology discourses, landscape restoration and management, aesthetics, morphology and biology, EU projects

Full Text:



Abenius, J. and K. Larsson. 2004. Gaddsteklar och andra insekter i halländska sanddynsreservat [Aculeata and other insects in sand dune reserves in Halland]. Information från Länsstyrelsen (retrived 15/7/2019)

Antrop, M. 2005. Why landscapes of the past are important for the future. Landscape and Urban Planning, 70(1-2): 21-34. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2003.10.002

Benjamin, W. 1999. The Arcades project. Tiedemann, R. (ed.), Eiland, H. and McLaughlin, K. (Trans.) Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Benjaminsen, T.A. and P. Robbins. 2015. Nordic political ecologies. Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift - Norwegian Journal of Geography 69(4): 191-196. doi:10.1080/00291951.2015.1059879

Benjaminsen, T.A. and H. Svarstad. 2019. Political ecology. In B. Fath (ed.). Encyclopedia of ecology. Elsevier. Pp. 391-396.

Blaikie, P.M. 1985. The political economy of soil erosion in developing countries. London: Longman.

Breukers, S. 2006. Changing institutional landscapes for implementing wind power: a geographical comparison of institutional capacity building: The Netherlands, England and North Rhine-Westphalia. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

CABH. 2013. See Länsstyrelsen 2013.

CABH. 2015. See Länsstyrelsen 2015.

Castree, N. 2005. Nature. London: Routledge.

Castree, N. and B. Braun, B. 2001 (eds.). Social nature: theory practice and politics. Oxford: Blackwell.

Carroll, S.P. 2011. Conciliation biology: the eco-evolutionary management of permanently invaded biotic systems. Evolutionary Applications 4(2): 184-199.

Crowley, S.L., S. Hinchliffe and R.A. McDonald. 2017. Invasive species management will benefit from social impact assessment. Journal of Applied Ecology 54: 351e357.

Curtin, M. 2001. Organizing difference on global TV: television history and cultural geography. In G.R. Edgerton and P C. Rollins (eds.). Television histories: shaping collective memory in the media age. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky. Pp. 333-356.

Dahlberg, A. 2015. Categories are all around us: Towards more porous, flexible, and negotiable boundaries in conservation-production landscapes. Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift - Norwegian Journal of Geography 69(4): 207-218. doi:10.1080/00291951.2015.1060258

Davidson, A. and S. Williamson. 2017. The outside within: the shifting ontological practice of the environment in Australia. In L. Head, K. Saltzman, G. Setten and M. Stenseke. (eds). Nature, temporality and environmental management: Scandinavian and Australian perspectives on people and landscapes. London: Routledge. Pp. 15-29.

Davis, M.A., M.K. Chew, R.J. Hobbs, A.E. Lugo, J.J. Ewel, G.J. Vermeij, J.H. Brown, M.L. Rosenzweig, M.R. Gardener, S.P. Carroll, K. Thompson, S.T.A. Picket, J.C.Stromberg, P. Del Tredici, K.N. Suding, J.G. Ehrenfeld, J.P. Grime, J. Mascaro and J.C. Briggs. 2011. Don't judge species on their origins. Nature 474: 153-154.

Davoudi, J.C. and A. Mehmood (eds.). 2010. Planning for climate change: strategies for mitigation and adaptation for spatial planners. London: Earthscan. Pp. 7-18.

DeLyser, D., S. Herbert, S. Aitken, M. Crang and L. McDowell. (eds.). 2009. The SAGE handbook of qualitative geography. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Denevan, W.M. 2011. The "Pristine Myth" revisited. Geographical Review 101(4): 576-591. doi:10.1111/j.1931-0846.2011.00118.x

Escobar, A. 1995. Encountering development: the making and unmaking of the third world. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Escobar, A. 1998. Whose knowledge, whose nature? Biodiversity, conservation, and the political ecology of social movements. Journal of Political Ecology 5(1): 53-82.

Evans, J.P. 2011. Resilience, ecology and adaptation in the experimental city. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 36(2): 223-237.

Fleishman, E., D.E. Blockstein, J.A. Hall, M.B. Mascia, M.A. Rudd, J.M. Scott, W.J. Sutherland, A.M. Bartuska, A.G. Brown, C.A. Christen, J.P. Clement, D. Dellasala, C.S Duke, M. Eaton, S.J. Fiske, H. Gosnell, J. C. Haney, M. Hutchins, M. L. Klein, J. Marquesee, B. R. Noon, J.R. Nordgren, P.M. Orbuch, J. Powell, S.P Quarles, K.A. Saterson, C.C. Savitt, B.A. Stein, M. S. Webster, A. Vedder. 2011. Top 40 priorities for science to inform US conservation and management policy. BioScience 61: 290-300.

Forsyth, T.J. 2008. Political ecology and the epistemology of social justice. Geoforum 39(2): 756-764.

Gill, R. 2000. Discourse analysis. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Ginn, F. and D. Demeritt. 2014. Nature: a contested concept. In Clifford, N., S. Holloway, S.P. Rice and G. Valentine (eds). Key concepts in geography. Thousand Oaks: Sage. Pp. 300-311.

Gröning, G. and J. Woschke-Bulmahn. 2004. The native plant enthusiasm: ecological panacea or xenophobia? Landscape Research 28: 75-88.

Hajer, M. and W. Versteeg. 2005. A decade of discourse analysis of environmental politics: achievements, challenges, perspectives. Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning 7(3): 175-184. doi:10.1080/15239080500339646

Hajer, M. 1995. The politics of environmental discourse. Oxford: Clarendon.

Hajer, M. 2001. The need to zoom out: understanding planning processes in a post-corporatist society. In Madinapour. A., A. Hull and P. Healey (eds). The governance of place: space and planning processes. Aldershot: Ashgate. Pp.178-202.

Harvey, D. 1992. Social justice, postmodernism and the city. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 16(4): 588–601. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2427.1992.tb00198.x

Harvey, D. 1996. Justice, nature and the geography of difference. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.

Head, L., K. Saltzman, G. Setten and M. Stenseke (eds.). 2017. Nature, temporality and environmental management: Scandinavian and Australian perspectives on people and landscapes. London: Routledge.

Hinchliffe, S. 2002. Inhabiting - landscapes and nature. In Anderson, K., M. Domosh, S. Pile and N. Thrift. (eds.). Handbook of cultural geography. London: Sage. Pp. 207-225.

Hinchliffe, S. and S. Whatmore. 2006. Living cities: towards a politics of conviviality. Science as Culture 15(2): 123-138. doi:10.1080/09505430600707988

Hsieh, H.F. and S.E. Shannon. 2005. Three approaches to qualitative content analysis. Qualitative Health Research 15(9): 1277-1288. doi:10.1177/1049732305276687

IUCN Council. 2000. Guidelines for the prevention of biodiversity loss caused by invasive alien species. Gland, Switzerland: International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Jonasson, M. 2000. The creation of places in traffic through performative action. PhD dissertation. Department of Human and Economic Geography, series B No. 98. Göteborg: Göteborgs University.

Jorgensen, A. and M. Tylecote. 2007. Ambivalent landscapes—wilderness in the urban interstices. Landscape Research 32(4): 443-462. doi:10.1080/01426390701449802

Lantmäteriet. 1819. Flygsandsfälten i Hallands län. [Sand drift fields in Halland] Lantmäteriets arkiv. (Retrieved 15/7/2019)

Leino, H., I. Karppi and A. Jokinen. 2017. It's all about the birds! Non-human actors' situational power in creating conditions for human engagement. Planning Theory 16: 133-149. doi:10.1177/1473095215617985

Lorimer, J. 2012. Multinatural geographies for the Anthropocene. Progress in Human Geography 36(5): 593-612. doi:10.1177/0309132511435352

Low. T. 2001. From ecology to politics: the human side of alien invasions. In J.A. McNeely (ed.). The great reshuffling: human dimensions of invasive alien species. Gland, Switzerland: International Union for Conservation of Nature. Pp. 35-42.

Low, T. 2002. The new nature: winners and losers in the wild Australia. Melbourne: Penguin.

Länsstyrelsen [County Administrative Board, CAB]. 2013. Skötselplan för naturreservatet i Haverdal. Dnr 511-4721-12. [Maintenance plan for the nature reserve in Haverdal]. Retrieved 26/2/2020

Länsstyrelsen [County Administrative Board, CAB]. 2015. Restoration plan for Nature-2000 area Haverdal SE0510020 in Halmstad, county of Halland. Dnr: 512-465-13.

Länsstyrelsen [County Administrative Board, CAB] n.d. Hallands sandkust – en plats för både människa och natur [The sand coast of Halland – a place for both human and nature]. Retrieved 28/2/2020 from

Magnusson-Rading, I. 2012. Haver du sett Haverdal [Have you seen Haverdal]. Halmstad: Bull Graphics.

Malmberg-Persson, M., J. Nyberg, J. Ising, J. and L. Rodhe. 2016. Skånes känsliga stränder – erosionsförhållanden och geologi för samhällsplanering. [The vulnerable beaches of Skåne – Places of erosion and geology for planning]. SGU-rapport 2016:17. Geological survey of Sweden. Retrieved 20200228.

Nightingale, A.J. 2014. Nature-society. In Lee, R., N. Castree, R. Kitchin, V. Lawson, A. Paasi, C. Philo, S. Radcliffe, S.M. Roberts and C.W.J. Withers (eds.). The SAGE Handbook of Human Geography. 2 Volume Set. London: Sage. Pp. 120-147.

Olsson, H. 1974. Studies on South Swedish sand vegetation. Doctoral dissertation. Acta Phytogeographica Suecia 60. Uppsala: Svenska växtgeografiska sällskapet.

Olwig, K.R. 2002. Landscape, nature, and the body politic: from Britain's renaissance to America's new world. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.

Olwig, K.R. 2003. Natives and aliens in the national landscape. Landscape Research 28: 61-74.

Proctor, J. 1998. Ethics in geography: giving moral form to the geographical imagination. Area 30: 8-18.

Qvenild, M. 2014. Wanted and unwanted nature: landscape development at Fornebu, Norway. Journal of Environment and Planning 16(2): 183-200.

Qvenild, M. and G. Setten. 2019. Locating value in the Anthropocene: baselines and the contested nature of invasive plants. In Hoskins, G. and S. Saville (eds.). Locating value: theory, application and critique. Oxford: Routledge. Pp. 118-128.

Regionfakta [Regional facts]. 2020. Population in Halmstad centers 1980-2015.

Robbins, P. 2012. Political ecology: a critical introduction. Second Edition. Chichester, UK: Wiley.

Robbins, P., A. Chhatre and K. Karanth. 2015. Political ecology of commodity agroforests and tropical biodiversity. Conservation Letters 8(2): 77-85. doi:10.1111/conl.12169

Rose, G. 2007. Visual methodologies: an introduction to the interpretation of visual materials. London: Sage.

Rose, N. and P. Miller. 2010. Political power beyond the State: problematics of government. The British Journal of Sociology 61: 271-303. doi:10.1111/j.1468-4446.2009.01247.x

Sandberg, M and S. Jakobsson. 2018. Trees are all around us: farmers' management of wood pastures in the light of a controversial policy. Journal of Environmental Management 212: 228-235.

SandLIFE 2012. Restoration of habitats on sandy soils in southern Sweden. LIFE11 NAT/SE/000849. Retrieved 2019 11-21 from

SandLife. n.d. Welcome to Sand Life. Website. Retrived 28/2/2020 from

Santayana, G. 1896 [1961]. The sense of beauty. New York: Collier.

Setten, G. 2017. Landscape, temporality and responsibility: making conceptual connections through alien invasive species. In Head, L., K. Saltzman, G. Setten and M. Stenseke (eds). Nature, temporality and environmental management: Scandinavian and Australian perspectives on people and landscapes. London: Routledge. Pp. 30-45.

Simberloff, D. 2003. Confronting introduced species: a form of xenophobia? Biological Invasions 5: 179-192.

Smith, D. 2000. Moral geographies: ethics in a world of difference. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Stenseke, M. 2009. Local participation in cultural landscape maintenance: lessons from Sweden. Land Use Policy 26: 214-223. doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2008.01.005

Svanberg, F. 2003. Decolonizing the Viking Age. Stockholm: Almqvist and Wiksell.

SVT News. 2011. Protests against clearance. May 11.

SVT News. 2013. Decision about the nature reserve in Haverdal is close. May. 17.

Swyngedouw, E. 2006. Circulations and metabolisms: (hybrid) natures and (cyborg) cities. Science as Culture 15: 105-121. doi:10.1080/09505430600707970

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2019. Retrieved 21/11/2019 from

Van Wilgen, B.W. 2012. Evidence, perceptions, and trade-offs associated with invasive alien plant control in the Table Mountain National Park, South Africa. Ecology and Society 17(2).

Widgren, M. 2015. Linking Nordic landscape geography and political ecology. Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift - Norwegian Journal of Geography 69(4): 197-206. doi:10.1080/00291951.2015.1062797

Wilkinson, C. 2012. Social-ecological resilience: insights and issues for planning theory. Planning Theory 11(2): 148-169. doi:10.1177/1473095211426274

Wästfelt, A., K. Saltzman, E. Gräslund Berg and A. Dahlberg. 2012. Landscape care paradoxes: Swedish landscape care arrangements in a European context. Geoforum 43: 1171-1181.