Social innovation in the spotlight: Special Issue of Forest, Policy and Economics

A Special Issue of Forest Policy and Economics focusses on social innovation to increase the well-being of forest-dependent communities and promote sustainability in remote rural areas

Photo: Red Aragonesa de Custodia del Territorio

This Special Issue, largely a product of the H2020 Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas (SIMRA) project and its Thematic Session organised at the 125th Anniversary IUFRO Congress in 2017, is a contribution to advancing and exchanging scientific knowledge of social innovation in the context of forestry. A purpose of this Issue is also to promote social learning; contribute ideas on social innovation that are potentially helpful for the development of rural policy and sustainable forestry, and ideas useful for practice communities at various levels.

The aim of this work is to guide actions through advanced and innovative knowledge that will increase the well-being of forest-dependent communities and assist them in building resilience to challenges currently faced and expected in future.

The papers in this Special Issue focus on identifying and explaining the role and place of social innovation, how to build appropriate methods to evaluate it, and the enabling policies and decision-making processes, which lead to an increase in the sustainability and multi-functionality of forests to the benefit of the communities which depend upon them. The authors who contributed in this Special Issue exchange understandings and advance scientific knowledge on the role and place of social innovation in the development of forest-dependent communities and forest socio-ecological systems, underpinning this development.

The 13 publications included in this issue combine diverse theoretical positions in a coherent explanation of spatial variability, case specificity and the context of social innovation, which encompasses its empirical diversity, complexities and multiple dimensions. The articles presented improve existing knowledge of the determinants of success, seeking to answer the question of how to support improved governance and social innovations, addressing the multiplicity and priorities of social needs, and new social relationships and collaborations.

Photo: SIMRA project

The Forest Policy and Economics Special Issue on Social innovation to increase the well-being of forest-dependent communities and promote sustainability in remote rural areas was edited by Maria Nijnik, Laura Secco, David Miller and Mariana Melnykovych.

Below you can find the list with the 13 publications included in the Special Issue.

  1. Can social innovation make a difference to forest-dependent communities?. Authored by Maria Nijnik, Laura Secco, David Miller and Mariana Melnykovych.
  2. Understanding social innovation for the well-being of forest-dependent communities: A preliminary theoretical framework. Authored by Tatiana Kluvánková, Stanislava Brnkaľáková, Martin Špaček, Bill Slee, Maria Nijnik, Diana Valero, David Miller, Rosalind Bryce, Mária Kozová, Nico Polman, Tomáš Szabo and Veronika Gežík.
  3. Towards a method of evaluating social innovation in forest-dependent rural communities: First suggestions from a science-stakeholder collaboration. Authored by Laura Secco, Elena Pisani, Riccardo Da Re, Todora Rogelja, Catie Burlando, Kamini Vicentini, Davide Pettenella, Mauro Masiero, David Miller and Maria Nijnik.
  4. Mapping European and forest related policies supporting social innovation for rural settings. Authored by Alice Ludvig, Gerhard Weiss, Simo Sarkki, Maria Nijnik and Ivana Živojinović.
  5. Is forest related decision-making in European treeline areas socially innovative? A Q-methodology enquiry into the perspectives of international experts. Authored by Maria Nijnik, Anatoliy Nijnik, Simo Sarkki, Jose Muñoz-Rojas, David Miller and Serhiy Kopiy.
  6. Human values as catalysts and consequences of social innovations. Authored by Simo Sarkki, Andrej Ficko, Dvaid Miller, Carla Barlagne, Mariana Melnykovych, Mikko Jokinen, Ihor Soloviy and Maria Nijnik.
  7. Civil society engaged in wildfires: Mediterranean forest fire volunteer groupings. Authored by Elena Górriz-Mifsud, Matthew Burns and Valentino Marini Govigli.
  8. Innovation in the use of wood energy in the Ukrainian Carpathians: Opportunities and threats for rural communities. Authored by Ihor Soloviy, Mariana Melnykovych, Astrid Björnsen Gurung, Richard J.Hewitt, Radmila Ustych, Lyudmyla Maksymiv, Peter Brang, Heino Meessen and Mariia Kaflyk.
  9. Social innovation in the Welsh Woodlands: Community based forestry as collective third-sector engagement. Authored by Alice Ludvig, Maria Wilding, Adam Thorogood and Gerhard Weiss.
  10. Implications of policy framework conditions for the development of forestry-based social innovation initiatives in Slovenia. Authored by Todora Rogelja, Alice Ludvig, Gerhard Weiss and Laura Secco.
  11. The role of social innovation in negotiations about recreational infrastructure in forests – A mountain-bike case study in Switzerland. Authored by Jerylee Wilkes-Allemann and Alice Ludvig.
  12. Perceptions of forest-dependent communities toward participation in forest conservation: A case study in Bago Yoma, South-Central Myanmar. Authored by Khaing Thandar Soe and Youn Yeo-Chang.
  13. Evaluating participatory techniques for adaptation to climate change: Nepal case study. Authored by Chiranjeewee Khadka, Keshava Prasad Aryal, Magda Edwards-Jonášová, Anju Upadhyaya, Nabin Dhungana, Pavel Cudlin and Harald Vacik.

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EFIMED is the Mediterranean Facility of the European Forest Institute. Based in Barcelona, Spain, it was launched in 2007.