Forest spirituality at the heart of the best academic paper on sustainable development in 2022!

A scientific paper on the spiritual value of forests in Asia and Europe won the ISDRS “Best Sustainable Development Article Award”.

Sculpture in a forest.
Forests often hold a great deal of spiritual importance for people, as investigated in the article that won the ISDRS “Best Sustainable Development Article Award”. Photo: Pixabay .

The paper “Exploring evolving spiritual values of forests in Europe and Asia: a transition hypothesis toward re-spiritualizing forests” was announced as the winner of the “Best Sustainable Development Article Award” during the International Sustainable Development Research Society (ISDRS) conference that was held in Malaysia in 2023.

The paper stems from research carried out in the Horizon 2020 project Spurring INnovations for forest eCosystem sERvices in Europe (SINCERE) and the H2020 CLEARING HOUSE project and explores the spiritual values of forests in 13 European and Asian countries. The paper investigates the concept of forest spiritual values and sheds light on the relationships between changing forest spirituality, changing forest perceptions, and changing land-use governance and practices. Lead author, Jeanne-Lazya Roux considers that expanding knowledge about these connections can help policy makers and forest managers to address the trade-offs between the spiritual values of forests and the other benefits, called ecosystem services, that forests offer us.

The ISDRS confers this annual award with the goal “to further stimulate solid research, but also their applicability to support introduction of solutions to our immense challenges.” In 2022, ISDRS members nominated 34 Articles, among which the ISDRS Award Jury shortlisted five, including the “Exploring evolving spiritual values of forests in Europe and Asia” article that won the public vote.

Have a look at some of the key insights from the article in this EFI Resilience Blog post from its lead author Jeanne-Lazya Roux!

Don’t miss this chance to read the full article!

Full Reference

Roux, J.-L., A. A. Konczal, A. Bernasconi, S. A. Bhagwat, R. De Vreese, I. Doimo, V. Marini Govigli, J. Kašpar, R. Kohsaka, D. Pettenella, T. Plieninger, Z. Shakeri, S. Shibata, K. Stara, T. Takahashi, M. Torralba, L. Tyrväinen, G. Weiss, and G. Winkel. 2022. “Exploring evolving spiritual values of forests in Europe and Asia: a transition hypothesis toward re-spiritualizing forests”. Ecology and Society 27(4):20.

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The European Forest Institute is an international organisation established by European States with the objective to conduct research and provide policy support on issues related to forests. EFI works to promote forest research, facilitate and stimulate forest-related networking and support the dissemination of policy-relevant information on forests and forestry.