9.03.01 - Social and economic history


Jiri Woitsch, Czech Republic


Lingchao Li, China

About Unit

This working group has the intention to encourage and promote research and dissemination around broad themes of the social and economic aspects of forestry and forest history. The chair and facilitators of the group are very open to proposals and idea about how these may be achieved.

State of Knowledge

This is a rapidly emerging area of research and practitioner interest. It is increasingly clear that the better understanding of social and economic factors can inform our knowledge of forest history. Through this, of interest in its own right, new assessments of forest and landscape history can better inform views of future sustainable forestry.

There are critical areas of the interface between ecology, culture and history.  These are inherently cross-disciplinary and so present challenges in demanding genuine multi-disciplinary approaches.

The core concepts of sustainable forestry and its relationship to heritage, to ecology and biodiversity, and to local people through their economy need to be more effectively analysed. There are huge challenges of sustainable tourism, of rural depopulation, of social and economic exclusion that need to be considered, and an understanding of historic processes and changes can underpin this. Furthermore, there are serious issues of a lack of recognition of the historic forest resources, of forested and wooded landscapes as 'cultural' landscapes and the potential for these to underpin future rural tourism development.

Much research to date has positioned the forest as a productive and biodiverse landscape but ignored the defining cultural elements. This is a field that the working group seeks to address.

Reports and papers on these topics will be posted shortly. If you have materials that you would like profiling then lease do send them to the working group chair.