Climate change is expected to significantly affect forestry in the coming decades. Thus, it is important to raise awareness of climate-related risks – and opportunities – among forest stakeholders, and engage them in adaptation. However, many social barriers have been shown to hinder adaptation, including perceptions of climate change as irrelevant or not urgent, underestimates of adaptive capacity, and lack of trust in climate science.

The study uses the theory of transformative learning to examine the role of learning in engagement with climate change adaptation in overcoming social barriers to adaptation. The analysis is based on follow-up interviews conducted with 24 Swedish forestry stakeholders who had participated in a series of focus group discussions about climate change impacts and adaptation measures.

The authors find that many stakeholders struggled to form an opinion based on what they perceived as uncertain and contested scientific knowledge. The study concludes that engagement with climate change adaptation can be increased if the scientific knowledge addresses the needs, objectives and aspirations of stakeholders and relates to their previous experiences with climate change and extreme weather events.

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