The Dynamic Interaction between People and Forest Ecosystems

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Economics, Policy, and Social Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 June 2022) | Viewed by 37577

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Michigan State University, Room 133, Natural Resources Building, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
Interests: education; resilience; participatory modeling; citizen science

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Michigan State University, Room 133, Natural Resources Building, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
Interests: ecology; evolution; natural resources; psychology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is imperative to understand the interactions between people and forests with particular focus on how forests impact human health, wellness, and resilience. The ways in which people interact with forests are varied and have a differential impact on the socioecological systems in which humans are an integral piece. Also varied are the approaches in which human–forest interactions are studied across space and time. For this Special Issue, we are calling for papers that broadly characterize the interactions of people with forests. In particular, we are looking for papers that identify critical challenges in meeting human wellbeing, ecosystem function, and forest sustainability goals, as well as the meaningful points of variation that can help to predict change and improve management. These papers can arise from any discipline and take the form of experiments, observations, perspectives, and reviews. These papers should focus on the potential for improved forest management strategies and advancement in stakeholder engagement approaches. All papers should include important unanswered questions that can guide future research endeavors that seek to increase our understanding of forest management and public engagement with forest resources. An important goal for this Special Issue is to collectively drive a future research agenda focused on people and forests.

Dr. Rebecca Jordan
Dr. Amanda Sorensen
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • natural resources
  • community forestry
  • forest policy
  • forest economics
  • environmental justice
  • wellness
  • climate change
  • anthropomorphic
  • appreciation
  • biodiversity
  • ecosystem services
  • greenspace use
  • public
  • citizen science

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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25 pages, 7288 KiB  
Article
Influence of the Declaration of Protected Natural Areas on the Evolution of Forest Fires in Collective Lands in Galicia (Spain)
by Gervasio López Rodríguez, Verónica Rodríguez Vicente and Manuel Francisco Marey Pérez
Forests 2022, 13(8), 1161; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13081161 - 22 Jul 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1818
Abstract
Since the adoption of European Union Council Directive 92/43 on the conservation of natural habitats and wild fauna and flora, some opposition has arisen among owners and managers of land affected by the directive. Some studies have indicated that some of this opposition [...] Read more.
Since the adoption of European Union Council Directive 92/43 on the conservation of natural habitats and wild fauna and flora, some opposition has arisen among owners and managers of land affected by the directive. Some studies have indicated that some of this opposition has found expression in subsequent arson fires in these areas. This article analyses the occurrence of arson fires in the SACs (Special Areas of Conservation) included in the European ecological network, Natura 2000, in Galicia (Spain), more specifically in the montes vecinales en mano común (MVMCs), which are privately owned collective lands. We tested whether the declaration of SACs had a statistical impact on the forest fire regime in the period 1999–2014. The analyses focused on the sub-periods of 1999–2004 and 2005–2014, i.e., before and after the approval of the list of sites of community importance in the study area in December 2004. The results obtained show that, after the declaration of protection, there was a statistically significant increase in the area burnt by fire in these areas, mainly on private estates. We also found that the percentage of arson fires after 2004 was higher in SACs than in other territorial units. We found that the percentage of arson fires was reduced less in SACs than in other territorial units. Furthermore, we found that the area burnt per fire after 2004 in SACs was almost double that in the MVMC-SACs (12.04 ha versus 6.64 ha), so it can be concluded that the conservationist policies of the Natura 2000 network in Galicia have not had a positive effect on the forest fire regime. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Dynamic Interaction between People and Forest Ecosystems)
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24 pages, 2118 KiB  
Article
Forest Dependence of Rural Communities in the Republic of Moldova
by Nicolae Talpă, Aurel Lozan, Aureliu Florin Hălălișan and Bogdan Popa
Forests 2022, 13(6), 954; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13060954 - 18 Jun 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3006
Abstract
The high dependency on forest resources and the fact that forests play an important role in the lives of people in poorer rural areas are well known forest characteristics. This depicts a deep connection between people and nature. For the rural communities, forest [...] Read more.
The high dependency on forest resources and the fact that forests play an important role in the lives of people in poorer rural areas are well known forest characteristics. This depicts a deep connection between people and nature. For the rural communities, forest ecosystems display another important role, namely in alleviating poverty through stable provisions of vital functions and livelihoods. The present study aims to identify what influences the current level of the local communities of the Republic of Moldova’s dependence on forests, who still face poverty-related challenges, and how ecosystem services provided by forests are perceived by the rural population. After six years since the last forest dependency research, this time the level of dependence is investigated using the same methodology, but through improved socio-economic conditions. Although the consumption of non-timber forest products decreased, the pressure on forest resources remained at the same level due to the high dependence of communities on firewood. The highest dependency was found in low-income households, manifested by their necessity to spend an average share of 18.8% from their total income on firewood due to their restricted access to forest resources. Since most Moldovans rely more heavily on subsistence-oriented forest products such as fuelwood, forest management sustainability efforts might not be achieved as long as the need for wood products exceeds the supply, and neither will the living conditions of the poor be improved. Solutions should be sought based on cross-sectoral and long-term approaches by involving all stakeholders, and not neglecting local communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Dynamic Interaction between People and Forest Ecosystems)
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15 pages, 1187 KiB  
Article
The Way Forward for Community Forestry in Nepal: Analysis of Performance against National Forestry Goals
by Kamal Acharya, Nicolae Talpă, Aureliu Florin Hălălișan and Bogdan Popa
Forests 2022, 13(5), 726; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13050726 - 6 May 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3913
Abstract
Covering 45% of Nepal’s national territory, forests play a key role in maintaining the daily life of most rural communities. Community forestry is a participatory forest management approach for managing state-owned forests by local communities. By assessing the link between national level forestry [...] Read more.
Covering 45% of Nepal’s national territory, forests play a key role in maintaining the daily life of most rural communities. Community forestry is a participatory forest management approach for managing state-owned forests by local communities. By assessing the link between national level forestry goals and the community forestry outcomes, this study aims to measure the performance of community forestry towards achieving sustainable forest management goals. The 3L causative benchmark model was used, with some adaptations to fit the national context of Nepal. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, a questionnaire survey, as well as using secondary sources such as policy documents, governmental and non-governmental reports, and scientific papers. Results reveal that community forestry is oriented towards achieving sustainable forest management goals, but there are aspects where further improvement is needed: forest product diversification, marketing and business, and planning and management of the non-marketable forest ecosystem services. Community forestry’s role in managing the conflicting interests between stakeholders and promotion of the forestry sector in society is judged to be beneficial. There is an envisaged positive pathway to enhance the performance of community forestry through strong forest tenure rights, community friendly policies and regulations, and proper technical and business support from forest authorities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Dynamic Interaction between People and Forest Ecosystems)
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17 pages, 4392 KiB  
Article
What Makes Agroforestry a Potential Restoration Measure in a Degraded Conservation Forest?
by Murniati, Sri Suharti, Minarningsih, Hani Sitti Nuroniah, Subekti Rahayu and Sonya Dewi
Forests 2022, 13(2), 267; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13020267 - 8 Feb 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3222
Abstract
Agroforestry is a win–win solution in terms of restoring forest function while benefiting the local community. This research aimed to (1) understand the regulations concerning conservation forest management and the restoration strategies adopted based on the history of forest degradation in the area, [...] Read more.
Agroforestry is a win–win solution in terms of restoring forest function while benefiting the local community. This research aimed to (1) understand the regulations concerning conservation forest management and the restoration strategies adopted based on the history of forest degradation in the area, (2) investigate the factors driving local people to adopt agroforestry systems in the area, and (3) investigate the characteristics of the agroforestry system developed and its impacts based on farmers’ perceptions. This research was performed in Wan Abdul Rachman Grand Forest Park, Lampung Province, Indonesia, and involved 59 respondents who managed 63 agroforestry plots in the area. Several schemes had been implemented to restore the degraded forest without involving the community, and the results were unsatisfactory. Changing the regulations concerning managing conservation forests to involve the community and providing legal permits and support from the management improved forest function due to community willingness to implement the agroforestry system. About 81% of observed plots consisted of 5–12 plant species, and 16% of plots consisted of 13–16 species per plot. Theobroma cacao was the most common species in the agroforestry plots, followed by Durio zibethinus, Parkia speciosa, and Aleurites moluccana. The size of the agroforestry plot affected the number of species in the plot. The community perception demonstrated that agroforestry has positive impacts on livelihood, the environment, and biodiversity at the landscape level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Dynamic Interaction between People and Forest Ecosystems)
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20 pages, 2139 KiB  
Article
Assessing the Economic Contribution of Forest Use to Rural Livelihoods in the Rubi-Tele Hunting Domain, DR Congo
by Richard K. Mendako, Gang Tian, Saif Ullah, Heri Labani Sagali and Daddy D. Kipute
Forests 2022, 13(1), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13010130 - 17 Jan 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3849
Abstract
Forest utilization makes a significant economic contribution to the livelihoods of rural households, especially those living in developing countries. This study was conducted to determine the absolute and relative forest income and measure the distributional impact of forest income on economic inequalities among [...] Read more.
Forest utilization makes a significant economic contribution to the livelihoods of rural households, especially those living in developing countries. This study was conducted to determine the absolute and relative forest income and measure the distributional impact of forest income on economic inequalities among rural households in the Rubi-Tele Hunting Domain (RTHD), Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo). Household socioeconomic data and other qualitative informations were collected using structured household-level surveys, focus group discussions, and key informant interviews. The study used descriptive statistical analysis, Gini coefficient, and Lorenz curve computation. Additionally, the non-parametric alternative Kruskal–Wallis Test was also used. Findings revealed that 89.76% of the households’ sample were involved in forest-based activities. The annual average income from these forest-based activities was estimated at CDF 1,219,951.58 (USD 659.08) per household, contributing 32.46% to total annual household income. Other income sources share constituted 37.09%, 10.04%, 8.30%, 7.63%, 2.41%, and 2.08% from crop, livestock keeping, business activities, fishing, and non-forest environmental activities, paid employment, and other income sources, respectively. There was a significant difference between annual household income in terms of income sources (p < 0.5). Forest income constituted the second most crucial income portfolio after crop income. Bushmeat income share was higher than other forest products income share. However, the proportion of households involved in firewood extraction was substantial (80.70%). Gini coefficient and Lorenz curve analysis proved that forest income helped reduce economic inequality among the sampled households by 11%. Therefore, reducing access to forest would significantly impact rural households’ welfare and could increase income disparities. The present study provides valuable information for developing sustainable forest management policies and strategies to maintain and enhance the economic benefit of forest use without damaging biodiversity conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Dynamic Interaction between People and Forest Ecosystems)
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13 pages, 23374 KiB  
Article
Evolution of Human Salivary Stress Markers during an Eight-Hour Exposure to a Mediterranean Holm Oak Forest. A Pilot Study
by Albert Bach, Jose Joaquin Ceron, Roser Maneja, Joan Llusià, Josep Penuelas and Damián Escribano
Forests 2021, 12(11), 1600; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12111600 - 19 Nov 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2442
Abstract
The current study analyses the evolution of different human stress markers during an 8 h exposure to a Mediterranean Holm oak forest. We conducted a pre-post study with thirty-one subjects in which saliva samples were collected before the exposure (baseline) and after 1, [...] Read more.
The current study analyses the evolution of different human stress markers during an 8 h exposure to a Mediterranean Holm oak forest. We conducted a pre-post study with thirty-one subjects in which saliva samples were collected before the exposure (baseline) and after 1, 2, 4 and 8 h. Our results show: (A) a significant decrease in cortisol saliva concentrations from the second hour until the end compared to basal time; (B) a significant increase in alpha amylase activity after the first hour of exposure compared to basal time that remained elevated during the rest of the study; (C) a significant decrease in IgA from the fourth hour of exposure compared to the basal time. These findings indicate an effect of forest exposure in salivary biomarkers of stress and provide relevant data for the scientific and healthcare community encouraging further research in the field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Dynamic Interaction between People and Forest Ecosystems)
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16 pages, 941 KiB  
Article
Rural Residents’ Participation Intention in Community Forestry-Challenge and Prospect of Community Forestry in Sri Lanka
by E. M. B. P. Ekanayake, Yi Xie and Shahzad Ahmad
Forests 2021, 12(8), 1050; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12081050 - 7 Aug 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2853
Abstract
The contribution of local communities has become widely recognized as a better alternative in forest management than the traditional command-based control approach. However, several years later of implementation, most programs were failed due to a lack of community participation, imposing an uncertain future [...] Read more.
The contribution of local communities has become widely recognized as a better alternative in forest management than the traditional command-based control approach. However, several years later of implementation, most programs were failed due to a lack of community participation, imposing an uncertain future for community forestry. This paper examines rural Sri Lankans’ participation intention in community forestry (CF) program by using the Probit regression model. Randomly selected 300 individuals representing both CF members and non-CF members were interviewed for the study. The study results indicate that rural residents’ intention in future CF program negatively correlated with the participation status (CF membership) of individuals. Accordingly, CF members show less participation intention in future CF program than non-CF members. Socio-economic variables such as education level (p < 0.01) and the occupation of head of the household (p < 0.05) and total household income (p < 0.01) have significant influences on individuals’ participation intention in CF. In addition, non-monetary benefits derived from CF and perception on the product regulation and conflict mitigation are also appeared to significantly and positively affect villagers’ intention. The findings also revealed the knowledge gap on the purpose of the CF program and CF policy design. Hence, require immediate attention to improve awareness. Moreover, failure to raise local people’s participation intention in CF may indicate inadequate or ineffective government policies. Therefore, the Department of Forest Conservation should take sound measures to ensure that community-based forest management policies are consistently implemented at different administrative levels across the country and its rightness should be evaluated strictly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Dynamic Interaction between People and Forest Ecosystems)
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Review

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20 pages, 2500 KiB  
Review
The Effects of Environmental Changes on Plant Species and Forest Dependent Communities in the Amazon Region
by Diego Oliveira Brandão, Lauro Euclides Soares Barata and Carlos Afonso Nobre
Forests 2022, 13(3), 466; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13030466 - 16 Mar 2022
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 8580
Abstract
We review the consequences of environmental changes caused by human activities on forest products and forest-dependent communities in the Amazon region—the vast Amazonas River basin and the Guiana Shield in South America. We used the 2018 and 2021 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [...] Read more.
We review the consequences of environmental changes caused by human activities on forest products and forest-dependent communities in the Amazon region—the vast Amazonas River basin and the Guiana Shield in South America. We used the 2018 and 2021 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports and recent scientific studies to present evidence and hypotheses for changes in the ecosystem productivity and geographical distribution of plants species. We have identified species associated with highly employed forest products exhibiting reducing populations, mainly linked with deforestation and selective logging. Changes in species composition along with a decline of valuable species have been observed in the eastern, central, and southern regions of the Brazilian Amazon, suggesting accelerated biodiversity loss. Over 1 billion native trees and palms are being lost every two years, causing economic losses estimated between US$1–17 billion. A decrease in native plant species can be abrupt and both temporary or persistent for over 20 years, leading to reduced economic opportunities for forest-dependent communities. Science and technology investments are considered promising in implementing agroforestry systems recovering deforested and degraded lands, which could engage companies that use forest products due to supply chain advantages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Dynamic Interaction between People and Forest Ecosystems)
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11 pages, 958 KiB  
Review
Indigenous Forestry Tourism Dimensions: A Systematic Review
by Guido Salazar-Sepúlveda, Alejandro Vega-Muñoz, Nicolás Contreras-Barraza, Muhammad Zada and José Carmelo Adsuar
Forests 2022, 13(2), 298; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13020298 - 12 Feb 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2872
Abstract
Tourism activities developed in forested areas are a non-wood forest exploitation method that contributes to sustainability objectives, even more so when they consider the participation of the community and the government in favor of its conservation. Under this context, this article will review [...] Read more.
Tourism activities developed in forested areas are a non-wood forest exploitation method that contributes to sustainability objectives, even more so when they consider the participation of the community and the government in favor of its conservation. Under this context, this article will review the different investigations that relate to indigenous tourism, the conservation of the ecosystem and what attributes are important when measuring them. To do this, a scientometric meta-analysis was carried out, which extracts a set of articles that strictly refer to the themes of indigenous tourism in forests, considering two databases integrated into the Core Collection Web of Science, the selection process of which is aligned with the guidelines of the PRISMA methodology, establishing, with the PICOS tool, the eligibility criteria of the articles, which were applied to a qualitative systematic review. Finally, a model for measuring attributes in levels on indigenous tourism stands out, which incorporates the limit between the number of visitors to the tourist destination; the incorporation of tourists guides the identification of the necessary infrastructure facilities for an adequate experience and environmental conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Dynamic Interaction between People and Forest Ecosystems)
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Other

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7 pages, 906 KiB  
Commentary
Participatory Modeling in Support of Citizen Science Research
by Rebecca C. Jordan, Amanda E. Sorensen and Steven A. Gray
Forests 2022, 13(4), 567; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13040567 - 2 Apr 2022
Viewed by 1920
Abstract
Stakeholder engagement and participation is often an essential ingredient for successful environmental conservation and management. Including stakeholders in participatory environmental research has been an increasingly recognized necessity for understanding the complex nature of social–ecological systems (SES). The public is also essential to help [...] Read more.
Stakeholder engagement and participation is often an essential ingredient for successful environmental conservation and management. Including stakeholders in participatory environmental research has been an increasingly recognized necessity for understanding the complex nature of social–ecological systems (SES). The public is also essential to help structure environmental problems and decide on management interventions. As a result, new inclusive approaches to scientific research have emerged, such as Citizen Science. While there have been many climate change-related citizen science projects, in this paper, we provide an overview of a specific type of citizen science project. More specifically, we describe a participatory modeling approach to citizen science which can support climate change research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Dynamic Interaction between People and Forest Ecosystems)
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