Norwegian blue forests: What is being done, what more is needed?

| September 29th, 2022 | BFW22-events


We need blue forests. Kelp forests, seagrass meadows, and salt marshes capture and sequester carbon, boost biodiversity, improve water quality, and prevent coastal erosion. They are fundamental to Norway’s ocean economy, including the fishing industry. Yet many of Norway’s blue forests are degraded and under pressure.

On the heels of the UN climate conference (COP 27) and the week before world leaders meet to finalise a “Paris Agreement” for nature (COP 15), we will gather politicians, government officials, environmental organisations, the private sector, and scientists to shine a spotlight on Norwegian blue forests.

We ask: What are we doing to protect and restore the blue forest? What are the plans going forward? Is this enough? If not, what else can and should we do?

This seminar will be held in Norwegian. In-person attendance is limited to 60 people. Please register early to reserve your spot. This seminar will also be livestreamed to accommodate remote attendees. For in-person participants, there will be coffee from 9:00 – 09:30 and lunch at 12:00.

Back to blue forests week 2022


Thursday, December 1st
09:00am – 12:30pm CET


The Norwegian Environment Agency, Grensesvingen 7, Oslo
/ Livestream





Register for event


09:00 – 09:30 

Check in and coffee

09:30 – 10:20 

Session 1: Blue forest management from a bird’s eye view: From protection to valuing nature

10:20 – 10:30 


10:30 – 12:00

Session 2: Coastal zone spatial planning and blue forests

12:00 – 12:30


Session 1: Blue forest management from a bird’s eye view: From protection to valuing nature
There are a number of measures to take care of blue forests, for example water management plans, marine protection plans, municipal protection plans, etc. But how are they used and are they suitable?

Welcome and introduction
Marie Susanne Solerød and Trine Bekkby, Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA)

COP27 and the management of blue carbon seen through the lens of accounting
Kathrine Loe Bjønness, Norwegian Environment Agency

Panel discussion: The way ahead for the management of blue forests
Host: Marie Susanne Solerød, NIVA
Participants: Truls Gulowsen, Friends of the Earth Norway; Per Fauchald, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA); Erlend Grimsrud, Norwegian Fishermen’s Association

Session 2: Coastal zone spatial planning and blue forests
Spatial planning measures within the coastal zone can protect blue forests. However, they can also lead to physical damage, pollution and other negative impacts from the development of housing, cabins and commercial facilities, jetties, artificial sand beaches, dredging, anchoring, trawling and aquaculture facilities. Individually, the measures may do less damage, but the sum of them, together with other negative impacts, put blue forests under pressure.

What does spatial planning mean for blue forests?
Sissel Rogne, Institute of Marine Research  and Trine Bekkby, Norwegian Institute for Water Research

Mapping of blue forests in Norway
Ingrid Holtan Søbstad, The Norwegian Environment Agency

How can the Biodiversity Act and other government instruments provide frameworks for blue forests in spatial planning?
Ingunn Myklebust, University of Bergen (UiB) 

The coastal zone plan for the Tromsø region – the knowledge base as a basis for trade-offs in relation to land use
Ingrid Berthinussen, Tromsø municipality

Eelgrass restoration and management of the inner Oslofjord
Terje Laskemoen, Oslo municipality

Coastal zone plan for Vestfold – a successful example of a regional plan that has been scaled for municipal planning
Knut Bjørn Stokke, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Norwegian University of the Environment and Life Sciences (NMBU)

Panel discussion: What do municipalities need to better manage blue forests
Host: Sissel Rogne, Institute of Marine Research
Participants: Ingrid Berthinussen, Tromsø municipality; Terje Laskemoen, Oslo municipality; Frithjof Moy, Institute of Marine Research

Torill Sæterøy, GRID-Arendal


More speaker biographies coming soon 

Trine Bekkby
Senior researcher, Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA)

Trine works with variation and changes in marine ecosystems, with the main focus on blue forests. She has been responsible for the national mapping of habitat types in the coastal zone from 2009 until the program ended in 2019. She is currently working on studies of the effects of kelp cultivation on the marine environment and the development of drones as tools in coastal zone mapping.

Solrun Figenschau Skjellum
Research Director of Sustainable Societal Development, Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA)

Before Solrun joined NIVA, she worked in the Norwegian Environment Agency where she headed the climate knowledge section, which is responsible for the knowledge base about blue forests as a climate measure and the IPCC. She also has many years of experience with climate and environmental issues as a consultant for both the private and public sector.

Kathrine Loe Bjønness
Senior adviser, Norwegian Environment Agency

Kathrine is a senior advisor for the climate department in the Norwegian Environment Agency. She has worked for many years with the national greenhouse gas accounts and international reporting, first at Statistics Norway and now at the Norwegian Environment Agency. She is part of the Norwegian team in the international climate negotiations under the Climate Convention and was an author in the Climate Panel’s latest method report from 2019. Kathrine is originally a marine biologist from the University of Oslo.

Truls Gulowsen
Chair, Friends of the Earth Norway

Truls Gulowsen has a long history in the nature and environmental campaign in Norway, as, among other things, head of Greenpeace Norway from 2007 to 2019 and advisor to the Rain Forest Fund. He was also a deputy member of Norway’s Green Party central board until March 2021. In 2021, Truls was elected as the new leader of Friends of the Earth Norway.

Frithjof Moy
Head of Research, Institute of Marine Research (IMR)

Frithjof is Head of Research at IMR and leader of the subject group sediment communities, which among other things researches blue forests. Educated at the University of Oslo and has worked with macroalgae and kelp forest ecology for 35 years.

Per Fauchald
Head of Research, Norwegian Institute for Natural Sciences (NINA), Tromsø

Per Fauchald is an ecologist with extensive research experience in marine ecosystems. He is particularly interested in ecosystem-based management and the sustainable use and management of coastal ecosystems. The main question is how humans affect the ecosystems, and how we can create changes in a sustainable direction. Per has led several research projects, programmes, syntheses and studies, and is currently leading the Arctic Council’s study on the link between climate change and Arctic ecosystems.

Torill Sæterøy
Head of Programme, Marine Environment,

Torill Sæterøy is Head of Programme for the Marine Environment Programme at GRID-Arendal. GRID-Arendal is an environmental foundation based in Arendal that is a partner of UN Environment who works with partners around the world to transfer environmental science to policy. The Marine Environment Programme works to strengthen sustainable ocean governance in development countries and to strengthen the conservation of blue forests. Before joining GRID-Arendal, Torill worked for 15 years on humanitarian and human rights issues for the Norwegian Refugee Council and the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. She is also Board Chairperson of the Norwegian Blue Forests Network.

Erlend Grimsrud
Head of the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association South

Erlend has led Fiskerlaget Sør since 2015. He has a fisheries education from the University of Tromsø with a MSc in aquaculture from the University of Environmental and Life Sciences. Erlend has experience from the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, the Aquaculture Industry and as a technician in Fisheries and Seafood Research.

Ingrid Berthinussen
Project leader of coastal zone planning, Tromsø municipality

Berthinussen has a degree in marine zoology and chemistry from the University of Oslo. The last three years have been employed as project manager for the revision of the Coastal Zone Plan for the Tromsø regions, the municipalities of Balsfjord, Karlsøy and Tromsø. The plan has just been submitted for final political decision. Before this, she was department head for the environment and the mapping department at the Norwegian Polar Institute, with main responsibility for environmental advice and topographic mapping of polar areas in the Arctic and Antarctica. Berthinussen has previously worked for the Research Council of Norway, the Norwegian Pollution Control Board (now the Norwegian Environment Agency), and the Ministry of Climate and the Environment.

Ingunn Elise Mykklebust. Photo: Hans Jørgen Brun

Ingunn Elise Myklebust
Professor, University of Bergen (UiB)

Ingunn Elise Myklebust is a professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Bergen, where she researches and teaches planning law, environmental law and district law. In the past, she has, among other things, supervisor for a PhD candidate writing a thesis within the planning law subject, leads the faculty’s research group in administrative law and sits on the committee that will prepare proposals for a new cultural environment act. She has previously worked in the City Council’s department for the environment and urban development and as a lawyer at the Municipal Attorney in Bergen.

Knut Bjørn Stokke. Photo by Gisle Bjørneby

Knut Bjørn Stokke
Associate Professor, Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

Knut Bjørn Stokke was educated at the University of Bergen as a geographer. He worked as a planning researcher at NIBR for 10 years before coming to NMBU in 2009. Knut Bjørn’s specialist field is municipal and regional landscape planning, with a particular interest in coastal zones and waterways.

Ingrid Holtan Søbstad
Advisor, Ocean and climate, The Norwegian Environment Agency

Ingrid Holtan Søbstad is educated as a marine biologist and works as an adviser in the Norwegian Environment Agency in oceans and climate. She was previously a climate pilot for the project Climate Lift in Oslo Schools, where she concentrated on issues related to marine litter and plastic in the sea. She has also been responsible for the Keep Norway Clean conference on marine recycling.

Photo credit: Ruben A. Pettersen

Terje Laskemoen
Department Director, Urban Environment Agency
Oslo municipality

Terje Laskemoen has a PhD in evolutionary biology from UiO. He has research experience mainly in behavioral ecology, sperm evolution and systematics in passerines, as well as teaching experience at university level in basic biology, systematics and zoology. Terje heads the Nature and Pollution Department in the Urban Environment Agency, which, among other things, has professional responsibility for biological diversity in Oslo municipality. He has a broad interest in biology, pollution and, not least, safeguarding the nature around us.



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