Sustainable Vättlefjäll – The Power Of Collaboration To Protect A Land

Vättlefjäll is the largest outdoor area in Gothenburg, Sweden and is known for its rich coniferous forest, its many lakes and long hiking trails. The mountain is home to many different activities and visitors flock to the land to experience its nature.

Today’s forested lands were practically forestless during the 18th century. Instead, the area was dominated by extensive heather and wet moors, which are habitats for a number of rare plants and animals. Both visitors and businesses have increased sharply in Vättlefjäll in recent years. The mountain has a role for, among other things, health and outdoor education. Not least for schools, families with children and the elderly in the densely populated urban areas that use the mountain.

But the increased popularity also has a downside. Visitors flock to Vättlefjäll and use the area in a way that is already not sustainable and leads to great strain on certain activities and wear and tear of Vättlefjäll which can have major consequences for nature and the animals that live there. Other challenges are the increased regrowth and reforestation and that important threatened species are at risk of disappearing. At the same time, the area is marketed more than ever to domestic vacationers and international guests.

Today, the various businesses use Vättlefjäll independently and are unknown to each other. There is a strong need for collaboration between those actors to seek new ways for a sustainable Vättlefjäll. Therefore, a platform organization is being created right now, with a common vision and common goals in cooperation between associations, businesses (tourist companies, landowners and animal keepers), public organizations, administrations and authorities. By connecting different actors who are active today and in the future in Vättlefjäll, the area and the actors get the opportunity to co-plan, use and grow with each other’s knowledge, competences and other resources, to together give the land, its business and visitors the best conditions for sustainable development with respect for the nature, plants and animals living there.

Coompanion Gothenburg is an advisory part of the project regarding co-organizational development and financing.

The project is owned by Tikitut community-based tourism, and works in collaboration and with project support from the County Administrative Board, Västkuststiftelsen and Region Västra Götaland. The project is financed with LEADER and the Swedish Agricultural Agency.
Author: Moa Nilsson, Companion Gothenburg.