Dear Resource Data In the Tropics E-list:
Below is IUFRO Spotlight #88. Other Spotlights can be found at:
Coordinator, IUFRO WP 4.02.01
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From: IUFRO Headquarters <office(a)iufro.org>
Date: Mon, May 10, 2021 at 6:02 AM
Subject: IUFRO Spotlight #88 - Using a social science lens on the forest
To: Dear IUFRO Officeholder <mahoganyforthefuture(a)gmail.com>
[image: IUFRO Spotlight]
IUFRO Spotlight #88 - Using a social science lens on the forest bioeconomy
*IUFRO Spotlight **is an initiative of the International Union of Forest
Research Organizations. Its aim is to introduce, in a timely fashion,
significant findings in forest research from IUFRO officeholders and member
organizations to a worldwide network of decision makers, policy makers and
researchers. IUFRO will encapsulate, and distribute in plain language,
brief, topical and policy-relevant highlights of those findings, along with
information on where/how to access the full documents. *
*IUFRO Spotlight** also aims to present activities such as sessions at
major IUFRO congresses or the work of IUFRO Task Forces with a focus on
emerging key issues that are of great interest to policy makers and groups
inside and outside the forest sector and contribute to international
processes and activities. The IUFRO Spotlight findings will be distributed
in a periodic series of emails as well as blog postings.*
Using a social science lens on the forest bioeconomy
PDF for download
[image: Graphic showing Cover design for Ambio special section by Alex
Cover design for Ambio special section by Alex Giurca
In many countries, forests are important sources of renewable biomass and
figure prominently in bioeconomy strategies.
Forests can be stretched beyond their traditional applications and used in
textiles, chemicals, and cross-laminated timber, among other things, and
can provide climate and ecological benefits, lead to rural employment
opportunities and add to regional growth.
But there are competing demands on forest resources and competing
perspectives on how forests should be used. These conflicting perspectives
and perceptions on the forest-based bioeconomy impact policy, land use and
A recent special section in *Ambio: A Journal of Environment and Society*
pulls together studies that look at how, for example, perceptions of the
forest-based bioeconomy differ across countries and social groups.
It's important, say the special section editors, because it opens the door
to more inclusive, locally and socially relevant bioeconomy policies and
The special section is entitled *Social dimensions of a forest-based
bioeconomy: A summary and synthesis*.
"We wanted to better understand the different perspectives and perceptions
of the bioeconomy among forest sector stakeholders, future professionals
and urban citizens," said Dr. Lea Ranacher, an editor of the special
"The studies range from review and discourse approaches to consumer
studies. We hope to encourage further social scientific contributions that
allow a more critical view on the concept of bioeconomy," she said.
Dr. Ranacher teaches at the University of Natural Resources and Life
Sciences in Vienna and is also a senior researcher for market analysis and
innovation research at Wood K plus in Austria.
"People's perceptions of bioeconomy matter. The transition to a
forest-based bioeconomy depends on how people – from all walks of life –
perceive wood-based products and their value chains," she said. "In order
to better understand the transition to a bioeconomy we need to investigate
different perceptions and what influences those."
Dr. Ida Wallin, another of the editors added: "Social scientific research
on bioeconomy is still rare and we wanted to address this research gap."
"Studying the social dimensions of bioeconomy in Europe produces more
comprehensive and critical perspectives on the forest-based bioeconomy,"
said Dr. Wallin, a post-doctoral researcher at the Chair for Forest and
Environmental Policy at the University of Freiburg, Germany, and IUFRO
"We see (in the studies) that perceptions of bioeconomy in Europe differ
based on where one lives," she said. "As an example, forestry students in
Northern European countries had more awareness of bioeconomy than those in
Southern European countries."
She attributes that primarily to the fact that Northern European countries
have strongly promoted the bioeconomy concept for some time now, while
Southern European countries have begun to formulate their policy strategies
Dr. Wallin also pointed out that studies in the special section show that
gender, age, pre-existing knowledge, ecological attitudes and consumption
style all factor into people's perception of bioeconomy and that further
research along these lines is needed.
Dr. Ranacher noted: "Consumers and other citizens who are 'non-experts' are
the end-users of the products and they elect the representatives who make
forest-based policy decisions. Current bioeconomy conceptualizations show
shortcomings regarding the sustainability and social inclusion aspects.
"The special section shows a diversity of social scientific studies and
demonstrates the value of this research field by uncovering dominant
discourses and perspectives."
[image: Photo showing PerForm group meeting in Uppsala, Sweden. Photo
provided by PerForm]
PerForm group meets in Uppsala, Sweden. Photo provided by PerForm
The special section is the result of research done within the
PerForm project (2018-2020). PerForm was conducted in collaboration with
IUFRO's 9.05.01 unit which focuses on bioeconomy policy research and is
coordinated by Dr. Helga Pülzl of Vienna's University of Natural Resources
and Life Sciences.
PerForm is an international collaboration of researchers funded by the
European Forest Institute and coordinated by Prof. Daniela Kleinschmit of
the University of Freiburg with collaborating researchers from Austria,
Slovakia, France, Italy, Sweden and Finland. Prof. Kleinschmit is also
IUFRO Vice-President responsible for Divisions.
The aim of PerForm was to better understand regional disparities of
national bioeconomy policies and explore the different perceptions of a
forest-based bioeconomy in Europe.
The *Ambio* special section contains the main scientific results from the
PerForm project as well as findings from other research groups on the topic
of the social dimensions of forest-based bioeconomy.
*Social dimensions of a forest-based bioeconomy: A summary and synthesis*
can be found at:
More information on the *PerForm Project* can be found at:
IUFRO 9.05.01 *Bioeconomy policy*:
The findings reported in *IUFRO Spotlight* are submitted by IUFRO
officeholders and member organizations. IUFRO is pleased to highlight and
circulate these findings to a broad audience but, in doing so, acts only as
a conduit. The quality and accuracy of the reports are the responsibility
of the member organization and the authors.
Suggestions for reports and findings that could be promoted through *IUFRO
Spotlight* are encouraged. To be considered, reports should be fresh, have
policy implications and be applicable to more than one country. If you
would like to have a publication highlighted by Spotlight, contact: Gerda
The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) is the
only worldwide organization devoted to forest research and related
sciences. Its members are research institutions, universities, and
individual scientists as well as decision-making authorities and other
stakeholders with a focus on forests and trees.
*IUFRO Spotlight #88, published in May 2021*
*by IUFRO Headquarters, Marxergasse 2, 1030 Vienna, Austria. Available for
download at: **https://www.iufro.org/media/iufro-spotlights/
*Contact the editor at office(at)iufro.org
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