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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2011

Knowledge production and learning for sustainable forest management on the ground: Pan-European landscapes as a time machine

Angelstam, Per; Axelsson, Robert; Elbakidze, Marine; Laestadius, L.; Lazdinis, M.; Nordberg, Mats; Pătru-Stupariu, Ileana; Smith, Mike


While sustainable forest management (SFM) policy processes are well developed, implementation on the ground remains a challenge. Given the diversity of biophysical conditions, economic histories and governance systems on the European continent, regionally and temporally adapted and adaptive solutions are needed for both social and ecological systems. To illustrate this, we apply (1) a biographic forest and woodland history approach to central Sweden's Bergslagen region, where boreal sustained yield forestry was widely applied first and (2) a comparative case study approach using five European landscapes that represent different forest history phases in Scotland, Germany, Ukraine and Russia. Additionally, we illustrate the need to learn from reference landscapes for natural forest and cultural woodland systems such as in economically remote regions in Romania, Russia and on the Iberian Peninsula. We conclude that there is great opportunity for innovative knowledge production about both governance and management for different SFM dimensions based on comparisons among concrete landscapes. In addition, there is a need to develop local place-based social learning processes that are characterized by a focus on a geographical area, commitment to SFM policy visions and collaborative approaches to development that include both ecological and social systems.

Published in

2011, Volume: 84, number: 5, pages: 581-596