Rya Forest Nature Reserve: A Case of Preservation, Conflicts, and Unwanted Rewilding



Rya Forest in Gothenburg, Sweden, gained protection by law as a nature reserve on 5 February 1928. Environmental organizations such as the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation emphasized both the biological importance and aesthetic qualities of Rya Forest, describing it as a unique green oasis in a rocky coastal landscape. Protection was deemed urgent, as this part of the city was the subject of rapid industrial and infrastructural expansion, mainly in connection with the port. To this day, Rya Forest has been an area of both appreciation and conflict.

Author Biography

Björn Billing, University of Gothenburg

Björn Billing, PhD, is a senior lecturer in History of Ideas and Science at the University of Gothenburg. His dissertation investigated the aesthetic philosophy of Theodor W. Adorno, and his current research and teaching focus on environmental history, in particular, representations of landscapes and the Anthropocene discourse. His monograph about Jean-Jacques Rousseau and eighteenth-century views on wilderness was published in 2017. Other fields of interest for Billing are dinosaurs in popular culture and the history of paleontology.

Ficarna verna, a common Spring flower in Rya Forest. © Björn Billing.