This article analyses the results of a study that assessed long-term cognitive and behavioural changes among Swedish forest owners who took part in a climate change communication project. The researches examined changes over a period of four and a half years, following a series of climate change-related focus group meetings and workshops that brought together scientists and forest owners.
The findings suggest that climate change communication had only a limited direct effect on individual engagement with adaptation. Climate change communication may have strengthened forest owners’ perceived knowledgeability and beliefs in climate change; nonetheless, participants actually became less concerned about climate change risks in the wake of the project. Moreover, they did not change how they managed their forests.
The authors argue that the results underscore the need for scientists to learn how to better tailor climate change communication to the personal experiences and decision-making needs of their target audiences. The researchers also suggest that scientists should make use of the peers and information channels already trusted by target audiences.