Special Issue "Protected Areas in Forest Conservation: Challenges and Opportunities"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Ecology and Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 December 2019.

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Panayiotis G. Dimitrakopoulos Website E-Mail
Department of Environment, University of the Aegean, 811 00, Mytilene, Lesbos Island, Greece
Interests: biodiversity and ecosystem processes; biodiversity conservation and planning; functional plant ecology
Guest Editor
Dr. Nikoleta Jones Website E-Mail
Global Sustainability Institute (GSI), Anglia Ruskin University, East Road, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire CB1 1PT, UK
Interests: ecosystem services; sustainable forest management; human wellbeing; social impacts of protected areas; economic valuation; social capital; quantitative social research methods

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The designation of protected areas is the most widely applied policy tool for forest conservation. Despite the wide implementation of protected areas, meeting biodiversity conservation targets remains a challenge. This special issue aims to explore the role of protected areas in forest conservation and discuss their effectiveness focusing on challenges but also on opportunities for new policy directions. We invite contributions which explore the strengths and weaknesses of protected areas for forest conservation by presenting evidence of case studies from across the globe representing different types of protected areas and forest management frameworks. Ecosystem services is expected to be a key concept in the special issue especially regarding the role of Protected Areas in providing these services and links with human well-being. In this context, studies which use an inter-disciplinary approach, exploring both ecological and socio-economic impacts of forest protected areas, are warmly welcomed. Papers submitted in this special issue are also expected to contribute in the on-going academic and policy discussion regarding new management tools linked with forest conservation (eg. re-wilding, nature-based economies) which are proposed as more effective initiatives in protecting forest ecosystems.

Prof. Panayiotis G. Dimitrakopoulos
Dr. Nikoleta Jones
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • biodiversity conservation
  • conservation policy
  • ecosystem services
  • nature-based solutions
  • protected areas
  • sustainable forest management

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
The Institutional Structure of Land Use Planning for Urban Forest Protection in the Post-Socialist Transition Environment: Serbian Experiences
Forests 2019, 10(7), 560; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10070560 - 04 Jul 2019
Abstract
In recent decades, Serbia has been undergoing a period of post-socialist transition that has significantly altered the value system underlying spatial development due to alteration of ownership frameworks and land use rights. In consequence, issues have arisen of how to strike a balance [...] Read more.
In recent decades, Serbia has been undergoing a period of post-socialist transition that has significantly altered the value system underlying spatial development due to alteration of ownership frameworks and land use rights. In consequence, issues have arisen of how to strike a balance between the various interests involved in the distribution of spatial resources and how to control the outcomes of public policies. Land use planning has been identified as an efficient instrument for implementing the public policy value framework. The objective of this paper is to identify the key points of land use planning in relation to urban forest management of significance for the maintenance of urban forests in the environment of post-socialist institutional transformation in Serbia. Seen as an institutional structure, the practice of land use planning in Serbia is the product of a stable interaction between the set of interrelated rules, procedures and organisational units that allows spatial development outcomes that take into account and safeguard land resources and, ultimately, urban forests. The research was carried out in relation to the concept of institutional transformation across three scales: macro/governance, meso/coordination and micro/agency: (a) components of the regulatory framework; (b) procedures for cooperation between stakeholders; and (c) specific activities of land use planning practice. As a result, the concept of Land use Planning for Urban Forest Protection (LUPUFP) in Serbia was established. It identifies components of institutional structure of importance for regulating system changes in the post-socialist transition environment and steering them towards the establishment of a value framework that allows the agenda of saving urban forests to be implemented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protected Areas in Forest Conservation: Challenges and Opportunities)
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Open AccessArticle
What (De)Motivates Forest Users’ Participation in Co-Management? Evidence from Nepal
Forests 2019, 10(6), 512; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10060512 - 16 Jun 2019
Abstract
The co-management concept has been echoed in scientific literature for over two decades. Emphasis has been tailored towards an understanding of structural and functional issues linked to its application and the outcomes thereof. However, a crucial aspect which still begs for scientific and [...] Read more.
The co-management concept has been echoed in scientific literature for over two decades. Emphasis has been tailored towards an understanding of structural and functional issues linked to its application and the outcomes thereof. However, a crucial aspect which still begs for scientific and policy edification, concerns the motivational drivers of actors’ participation in co-management arrangements. Studies contend that actors are motivated to participate in co-management based on their perceived benefits (e.g., income). Conclusions from these lines of argument further raise a theoretical quagmire, requiring further grounding, with regards to context-specific (de)motivators of users’ participation in co-management. The case of Nepal is pertinent. Although Nepal has a rich community-based forest management history, scientific investigations have virtually ignored the motivational drivers of participation in the co-management of natural resources (forests). Against this background, this paper seeks to explore the following: (i) the decision-making and monitoring structure of rules regulating the co-management of forests, (ii) the implications of this system on users’ motivation to participate, and (iii) the motivational drivers of users’ participation in co-management. To achieve this, five focus group discussions and 10 key informant interviews were conducted in five villages (Kunjo, Titi, Parshyang, Cchayo, and Taglung) within the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA). We further employed narratives, framework, and thematic analyses to discuss the decision-making structure and motivational aspects of co-management. The results point to the following conclusions: (1) Despite the rather top-down decision-making setting, users remain motivated to participate in co-management. (2) Interestingly, the motivation by actors to participate is not largely driven by users’ perceived benefits. The results present another twist, a deviation from the previously understood rationale, which should be factored into co-management theory development. However, the paper equally makes a succinct request for further studies, including quantitative investigations, to ground this assertion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protected Areas in Forest Conservation: Challenges and Opportunities)
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Open AccessArticle
Preserving Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in West African Forest, Watersheds, and Wetlands: A Review of Incentives
Forests 2019, 10(6), 479; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10060479 - 31 May 2019
Abstract
While biodiversity and ecosystem services derived from the natural environment are the backbones of West African rural livelihood, unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, conflicts, and climate change threaten the continued provision of ecosystem services. This threat creates an urgent need to safeguard the [...] Read more.
While biodiversity and ecosystem services derived from the natural environment are the backbones of West African rural livelihood, unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, conflicts, and climate change threaten the continued provision of ecosystem services. This threat creates an urgent need to safeguard the integrity of the environment. Evaluating the effectiveness of environmental conservation projects is central towards designing and scaling-up successful conservation projects. Using secondary literature and project reports, we reviewed ongoing and completed conservation projects in the West African sub-region. Scientific work on incentives for ecosystem services in sub-Saharan Africa typically focuses on Southern and Eastern Africa, leaving Western Africa underserved. This study fills this literature gap by compiling lessons from conservation projects in West Africa to offer region-specific incentives that should inform the design of conservation projects in the region. The study shows that the way forward is a holistic, sustainable development approach that mirrors and meets strategies outlined in Sustainable Development Goals 1, 2, 5, 8, 13, and 17: No Poverty, End Hunger and Promote Sustainable Agriculture, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Climate Action, and Partnerships for the Goals, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protected Areas in Forest Conservation: Challenges and Opportunities)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Forest Conservation and Ecosystem Services in the Matipa Forest of Malawi

Abstract: The Matipa Forest Complex is located within the larger Misuku Hills region of northern Malawi, the most lightly inhabited and floristically diverse region in the country. The comparatively low human pressures and policies protecting the Matipa Forest Complex, as well as three designated Forest Reserves in this region, has maintained biodiversity and allowed residents of this area to continue to reap an array of ecosystem services. A Photovoice exercise was conducted with residents of Chikutu village (located within the Matipa Forest) to compile an inventory of resident-identified ecosystem services. The results of this exercise demonstrate that Chikutu residents have an intimate knowledge of an abundance of ecosystem services that support daily needs including food, medicine, and timber products. The availability of these resources can be attributed to the relatively low population pressures on the landscape in this area, but the Matipa Forest is facing the same population pressures and policy enforcement challenges as other regions of the country where these services have been greatly diminished. These challenges are being met in a variety of creative ways in the Misuku Hills (e.g. sustainable coffee production, tree planting, beekeeping) that could be used as models for other areas in Africa and elsewhere where people depend directly on these services to meet daily needs.

Author: Chris Coutts

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