4.05.05 - Social innovation and entrepreneurship



Call for Manuscripts: Innovation, Transition and Reconstruction of Forestry Oriented by Policies

Submissions are invited for a Special Issue in the journal Forests.

Forestry worldwide is at a crossroads due to the rapidly changing climate; energy, biodiversity, financial and food security crises; and socioeconomic and political uncertainties that deepen deforestation and forest degradation. Innovation, transition and reconstruction of forestry, oriented by policies at the local level and across scales, are necessary to respond to challenges and build green, healthy, prosperous and resilient futures. Global and national policies and actions to be taken are equally important, as they trigger sustainable governance, management and the use of forests by transforming economic, political and social/cultural relationships across places, countries, regions and continents. In the light of recent policy documents, this Special Issue is planned to address the following questions of high importance:

  • How could forest policies foster sustainable governance of forests and what are the roles of diverse stakeholders (e.g., businesses, NGOs, local communities, and international organisations) in putting multifunctional forestry (in different spatial and temporary settings/contexts) on sustainable paths?
  • How could bottom-up and top-down approaches in forestry (and their combinations) change “the rules and play of the game” (and promote a sustainable forest bioeconomy, the involvement of businesses in the financing of forest restoration/afforestation projects, the creation of green jobs and improving the well-being of forest-dependent communities and a wider society, etc.)?
  • How can the valuation of forest natural assets and ecosystem services help finance nature-based solutions, help resolve conflicts, and prevent and alleviate forest losses that inflict costs on society?

Guest editors:  Prof. Dr. Maria Nijnik, Dr. Mariana Melnykovych

Details:  https://www.mdpi.com/journal/forests/special_issues/CF003M0137

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Maria Nijnik, United Kingdom


Anze Japelj, Slovenia

Mariana Melnykovych, Ukraine

Bernhard Möhring, Germany

Simo Sarkki, Finland

About Unit

Innovation, including social innovation, is considered a driving force of sustainable forestry development. It helps regenerate the economy, improve the environment and advance people’s quality of life. We believe that it is timely and worthy for scientists, the community of practice and local people to explore the opportunities arising from innovation for the forestry sector. It is also important to share innovative ideas on theory, models and applicability of social entrepreneurship, as well as to advance and exchange the knowledge of how to evaluate outcomes and impacts of various types of innovations, on the ground. We recognize that most innovation theories have not been rural areas-specific, forestry-specific, or specifically addressing forest-dependent communities.

Thus, having a primary focus on social innovation, this Unit aims to contribute to advancing and exchanging scientific knowledge of innovation and entrepreneurship in the context of forestry (IUFRO, 2018). This aim incorporates the following specific objectives

  • Promote multi-/trans- disciplinary research into social innovation in forestry;
  • Develop networking around social innovation and promote social learning;
  • Improve the exchange of information and experiences between science and practice, and promote the co-construction of knowledge with stakeholders;
  • Contribute ideas on entrepreneurship that are potentially helpful for the development of sustainable forestry, and ideas useful for decision-makers at various levels, including policy actors.


State of Knowledge

The ideas around social innovation build upon the research developed by social and interdisciplinary scientists worldwide (Bock, 2016; Kluvankova et al., 2018; Melnykovych et al., 2018). These ideas add value to the knowledge of social innovation in forestry and strengthen its links with policy and practice (Sarkki et al., in press). They, for example, reflect on the SIMRA http://www.simra-h2020.eu/ project, which promotes social innovation for enhancing smart and inclusive growth. The papers presented at the Thematic Session on social innovation at the IUFRO Congress https://www.iufro.org/media/iufro-spotlights/iufro-spotlight-47/ and journal articles in a special issue of Forest Policy and Economics https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/forest-policy-and-economics/special-issue/10H9J184QXV  show that social innovation has significant potential to benefit both, local communities and forest ecosystems. These papers offer insights to policy mechanisms as catalysts for (or constraints to) the enhancement of innovative governance (Nijnik et al., 2018; Ludvig et al., 2018). They provide evidence of the elements that should characterize an innovative approach to the evaluation of social innovations and their impacts (Secco et al., 2018). The findings demonstrate the role of social innovation for enabling policies and decision-making processes for the sustainable and multi-functional use of forests, and the promotion of traditional management of natural assets. The evidence in the set of papers shows how the development of capabilities to tackle challenges faced by people, living in remote wooded areas, will be helped by joint societal initiatives and innovative actions, together with the appropriate combination of top-down and bottom-up approaches to governance, supported by suitable policy instruments and incentives. Such joint societal initiatives involve scientific and practice communities, entrepreneurs, policy actors, investors and representatives of forest-dependent communities. The state of knowledge was presented at conferences, European Commission and Scottish Government meetings, and in the Royal Palace in Amsterdam http://www.hutton.ac.uk/news/dutch-royal-palace-hears-about-social-innovation-scotland-europe-and-beyond.


  • Nijnik M, Secco L, Miller D, Melnykovych M 2019. Can social innovation make a difference to forest-dependent communities? Forest Policy and Economics. Volume 100, March 2019, Pages 207-213 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forpol.2019.01.001
  • Sarkki S, Ficko A, Miller D, Barlagne C, Melnykovych M, Jokinen M,  Soloviy I, Nijnik M, 2019. Human values as catalysts and consequences of social innovations Forest  Policy and EconomicsVolume 104, July 2019, Pages 33-44 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forpol.2019.03.006
  • Secco L, Pisani E, Da Re R, Rogelja T, Burlando C, Pettenella D,  Masiero M, Miller D, Nijnik M  2019. Towards developing a method to evaluate social innovation in forest-dependent communities: a science-stakeholders collaboration, Forest Policy and EconomicsVolume 104, July 2019, Pages 9-22 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forpol.2019.03.011 
  • Kluvánková T, Špaček M, Brnkalakova S, Slee B, Nijnik M, Valero D, Miller D, Bryce R, Szabo T, Kozova M, Gezik V 2018. Understanding social innovation for well-being of forest dependent communities: a preliminary theoretical framework, Forest Policy and Economics Volume 97, December 2018, Pages 163-174 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forpol.2018.09.016
  • Ludvig A, Weiss G, Sarkki S, Nijnik M, Zivojinovic I., 2018. Mapping European and forest related policies supporting social innovation for rural settings Forest Policy and Economics Volume 97, December 2018, Pages 146-152 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forpol.2018.09.015
  • Melnykovych M, Nijnik M, Soloviy I, Nijnik A, Sarkki S, Bihun Y, 2018. Social-ecological innovation in remote mountain areas: adaptive responses of forest-dependent communities to the challenges of a changing world. Science of the Total Environment Volumes 613–614, 894–906 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.07.065
  • Nijnik M, Nijnik A, Sarkki S, Muñoz-Rojas J, Miller D, Kopiy S, 2018. Is forest related decision-making in European treeline areas socially innovative? A Q-methodology enquiry into the perspectives of international experts. Forest Policy and Economics Volume 92, July 2018, Pages 210-219 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forpol.2018.01.001
  • IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress Spotlight #47 – Remote forest-dependent communities can benefit through social innovation; http://blog.iufro.org/2017/07/27/httpwww-iufro-orgdownloadfile269025157anniversary-congress-spotlight47-social-innovation-d4_pdf/  
  • Sarkki S, Ficko A, Melnykovych M, Barlagne C, Nijnik M, Jokinen M, Miller D, Soloviy I (in press). What are social innovations in social-ecological systems? Four cases of European forest dependent communities, Forest  Policy and Economics
  • Bock, B.B., 2016. Rural marginalisation and the role of social innovation: a turn towards nexogenous development and rural reconnection. Sociologia Ruralis 56 (4): 552-573.