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Special Issue "Participatory Forestry: Involvement, Information and Science"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Alessandro Paletto

Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), Forestry and Wood Research Centre, p.za Nicolini 6, 38123 Trento, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: public participation and stakeholders' involvement in forest planning and management; Biophysical assessment and economic evaluation of ecosystem services provided by forests

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Public participation in forestry is a key issue to ensure democratization of decision-making processes, to increase the social acceptance of policies, and to reduce the conflicts between forest users. Public participation is also an opportunity for improvement of the quality of information, public debate, personal reflection and professionalization, awareness raising. Participation in forestry implies the involvement of stakeholders (interest group participation approach) and/or the involvement of people (direct citizen participation approach) in the decision-making process. Since the UN Conference on Environment and Development (1992), new norms and perspectives encouraging a bottom-up approach in forest governance. Consequently, several participatory techniques, methods and tools for stakeholder involvement in forest governance have been developed and applied. Different experiences are capable of learning from failures and successes and contribute to knowledge improvement. Future challenges of participatory forestry deal with adaptation to changes of ecological, social and economic contexts. The aim of this Special Issue is to promote the debate and the sharing of knowledge and experiences on public participation and stakeholders involvement in forestry (forest policy, forest planning and management). We encourage studies from all scientific fields, including case studies, to contribute to this Special Issue in order to promote advancement of scientific knowledge and awareness of information.

Dr. Alessandro Paletto
Guest Editor

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

  • Forest Governance
  • Participatory Process
  • Social Forestry
  • Stakeholder Analysis
  • Stakeholders Involvement
  • Collaborative Forest Planning
  • Horizontal and Vertical Forest Policy Analysis
  • Community Forest Management
  • Deliberative Democracy
  • Participatory Knowledge

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Cocoa and Climate Change: Insights from Smallholder Cocoa Producers in Ghana Regarding Challenges in Implementing Climate Change Mitigation Strategies
Forests 2018, 9(12), 742; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9120742
Received: 30 October 2018 / Revised: 17 November 2018 / Accepted: 27 November 2018 / Published: 28 November 2018
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Abstract
This study investigates the knowledge and perception of smallholder cocoa farmers on the potential impacts of climate change on cocoa production in Ghana. It addresses opinions on the inclusion of climate change mitigation strategies (such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation—REDD+) [...] Read more.
This study investigates the knowledge and perception of smallholder cocoa farmers on the potential impacts of climate change on cocoa production in Ghana. It addresses opinions on the inclusion of climate change mitigation strategies (such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation—REDD+) into cocoa production, and potential obstacles and roles of stakeholders in ensuring community acceptance of such strategies in a unique multiple land use area—the Krokosua Hills Forest Reserve. Data from the Ghana Meteorological Agency and through survey of 205 cocoa farmers were assessed with Mann-Kendall, Kruskal Wallis and Mann-Whitney tests. Farmers’ perceptions of changes in climate were notably diverse and did not always match historic weather data, but accurately described increases in temperature and drought which are linked to cocoa productivity. Farmers appreciate the importance of tree maintenance for ecosystem services but were skeptical of financially rewarding climate change strategies which favor tree protection. Cultural practices associated with cocoa production encourage carbon release and may pose a threat to the objectives of REDD+. Farmers’ experience on the land, interactions with other farmers, government extension agents and cocoa buyers all influence cocoa agroforestry practices in the area, and communication through existing entities (particularly extension agents) presents a pathway to community acceptance of climate change mitigation strategies. The study recommends reforms in REDD+ strategies to adopt flexible and participatory frameworks to facilitate adoption and acceptability due to pronounced heterogeneity in community perceptions and knowledge of climate change and related issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Participatory Forestry: Involvement, Information and Science)
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Open AccessArticle The Impact of Resident Participation on Urban Woodland Quality—A Case Study of Sletten, Denmark
Forests 2018, 9(11), 670; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9110670
Received: 22 September 2018 / Revised: 21 October 2018 / Accepted: 23 October 2018 / Published: 25 October 2018
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Abstract
Despite the potential of urban woodlands for recreational use and participatory management, citizens’ perception of urban woodland quality, as well as the impact of citizens’ co-management on urban woodland quality, have not been thoroughly studied to date. The present study investigated how residents [...] Read more.
Despite the potential of urban woodlands for recreational use and participatory management, citizens’ perception of urban woodland quality, as well as the impact of citizens’ co-management on urban woodland quality, have not been thoroughly studied to date. The present study investigated how residents in Holstebro, Denmark define urban woodland quality in their neighborhood named Sletten and how they perceive the quality impact of their participation in the management and maintenance of a transition from private gardens to public urban woodland—the so-called co-management zone. Field survey of participation for all housing units with a co-management zone (n = 201) informed strategic selection of residents for individual interviews (n = 16). It was found that social, experiential, functional, and ecological dimensions are all part of residents’ perception of urban woodland quality, whereby maintenance, accessibility, and nature are dominating aspects of these dimensions. While these aspects are already integrated in quality assessment schemes for other types of urban green space, our study revealed the importance of structural and species diversity between and within woodland stands as central for the perceived woodland quality—a quality aspect that distinguishes woodland from other types of urban green space. Participation in the management and maintenance positively influenced the perceived woodland quality. Residents found that their participation in the co-management zone created functional and ecological, physical qualities in the woodland. Moreover, the active participation provided the residents with a range of social and experiential benefits, many of which they themselves argue that they would have missed out on if they were only allowed to use the woodland “passively”. These findings suggest a large—but also largely untapped—potential of participatory urban woodland management to contribute physical qualities to urban woodlands and benefits to its users. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Participatory Forestry: Involvement, Information and Science)
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Open AccessArticle Approaching Local Perceptions of Forest Governance and Livelihood Challenges with Companion Modeling from a Case Study around Zahamena National Park, Madagascar
Forests 2018, 9(10), 624; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9100624
Received: 24 August 2018 / Revised: 27 September 2018 / Accepted: 3 October 2018 / Published: 10 October 2018
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Abstract
Community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) is a widely used approach aimed at involving those utilizing resources in their management. In Madagascar, where forest decentralization has been implemented since the 1990s to spur local resource users’ involvement in management processes, impacts remain unclear. This [...] Read more.
Community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) is a widely used approach aimed at involving those utilizing resources in their management. In Madagascar, where forest decentralization has been implemented since the 1990s to spur local resource users’ involvement in management processes, impacts remain unclear. This study aimed to investigate farmers’ perceptions and practices regarding forest use under various forest governance systems, using a participatory gaming approach implemented in the Zahamena region of Madagascar. We report on (i) the conceptual models of the Zahamena socio-ecological system; (ii) the actual research tool in the form of a tabletop role-playing game; and (iii) main outcomes of the gaming workshops and accompanying research. The results allow the linking of game reality with real-world perceptions based on game debriefing discussions and game workshop follow-up surveys, as well as interviews and focus group research with other natural resource users from the study area. Results show that the Zahamena protected area plays the role of buffer zone by slowing down deforestation and degradation. However, this fragile barrier and CBNRM are not long-term solutions in the face of occurring changes. Rather, the solution lies in one of the main causes of the problem: agriculture. Further use of tools such as participatory gaming is recommended to enhance knowledge exchange and the development of common visions for the future of natural resource management to foster resilience of forest governance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Participatory Forestry: Involvement, Information and Science)
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Open AccessArticle Stakeholder Participation in Natura 2000 Management Program: Case Study of Slovenia
Forests 2018, 9(10), 599; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9100599
Received: 23 August 2018 / Revised: 22 September 2018 / Accepted: 24 September 2018 / Published: 26 September 2018
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Abstract
The Natura 2000 network, which is one of the largest networks of protected areas in the world, is the core pillar in the European Union’s biodiversity conservation policy. To achieve the national enforcement of Natura 2000 and to overcome implementation problems, effective policy [...] Read more.
The Natura 2000 network, which is one of the largest networks of protected areas in the world, is the core pillar in the European Union’s biodiversity conservation policy. To achieve the national enforcement of Natura 2000 and to overcome implementation problems, effective policy measures are needed, and participation among different stakeholders is required. The aim of this paper was to evaluate the process of formulation of the Natura 2000 Management Program (2015–2020) in Slovenia based on a set of criteria and indicators for the evaluation of a participatory process, and to present the differences between the stakeholders’ evaluations according to their role in the implementation process. For that purpose, stakeholders were divided into two groups—stakeholders from project partner’s institution, and others. The research was done in two steps: First, in-depth semi-structured interviews with 17 representatives of the key stakeholders’ institutions or organizations that were involved in the formulation of the Natura 2000 Management Program were carried out; in the second, a survey with 266 stakeholders involved in the formulation and decision-making process was conducted. Overall, the results show that the participatory process was well organized, independent and fair; however, not all of the requisite conditions for successful participation were fulfilled, as was shown with the sub-criteria of transparency. The only difference between the groups exists in the evaluations of the sub-criteria transparency of the process. The group of stakeholders from the project’s partner institutions were more satisfied with the transparency of the process, as the average value was 3.36, compared to the others where the average value of satisfaction was 2.80. This indicates the need for an improved, novel, and innovative approach that leads to multi-level governance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Participatory Forestry: Involvement, Information and Science)
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Open AccessArticle Orchestrating Forest Policy in Italy: Mission Impossible?
Forests 2018, 9(8), 468; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9080468
Received: 30 May 2018 / Revised: 24 July 2018 / Accepted: 30 July 2018 / Published: 1 August 2018
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Abstract
In the Italian political and economic agenda the forest sector occupies a marginal role. The forest sector in Italy is characterized by a high institutional fragmentation and centralized decision-making processes dominated by Public Forest Administrations. Public participation in forest policy processes has been [...] Read more.
In the Italian political and economic agenda the forest sector occupies a marginal role. The forest sector in Italy is characterized by a high institutional fragmentation and centralized decision-making processes dominated by Public Forest Administrations. Public participation in forest policy processes has been implemented since the 1990s at national, regional and local levels in several cases. However, today no significant changes have been observed in the overall governance of the forest sector and stakeholders’ involvement in Italian forest policy decision-making is still rather limited. The aims of this paper are to describe the state of forest-related participatory processes in Italy at various levels (national, regional and local) and identify which factors and actors hinder or support the establishment and implementation of participatory forest-related processes in the country. The forest-related participatory processes are analyzed adopting a qualitative-based approach and interpreting interactive, complex and non-linear participatory processes through the lens of panarchy theory. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Participatory Forestry: Involvement, Information and Science)
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Open AccessArticle Qualitative Assessment of Forest Ecosystem Services: The Stakeholders’ Point of View in Support of Landscape Planning
Forests 2018, 9(8), 465; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9080465
Received: 4 July 2018 / Revised: 24 July 2018 / Accepted: 30 July 2018 / Published: 1 August 2018
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Abstract
In the last decades, the ecosystem services (ES) concept has become one of the main challenges of study and discussion in the scientific community. The quantitative and qualitative assessment of ES is as a tool to address forest management planning on a local [...] Read more.
In the last decades, the ecosystem services (ES) concept has become one of the main challenges of study and discussion in the scientific community. The quantitative and qualitative assessment of ES is as a tool to address forest management planning on a local scale. Forest landscape management planning is the most suitable level for integrating social needs and demands in the enhancement of different forest ES. Some regions in Italy have developed forest landscape management plans taking into account the social preferences for the different ES. In this paper, we refer to five case studies in three pilot areas in Italy. A survey collected and analyzed the opinions and preferences, from 362 stakeholders, for ten ES included in three categories (provisioning, regulating and cultural services). The main aim of this study is to understand what type of variables (study area, the groups of interest and socio-demographic characteristics of respondents) most influence stakeholder preferences for ES. The results show that for the sample of stakeholders involved in the survey, the most important ES category is regulating services followed by cultural services. In addition, the results show that the group of stakeholders’ interest is the most important variable influencing their preferences for ES. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Participatory Forestry: Involvement, Information and Science)
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Open AccessArticle Implementing Participatory Processes in Forestry Training Using Social Network Analysis Techniques
Forests 2018, 9(8), 463; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9080463
Received: 28 June 2018 / Revised: 25 July 2018 / Accepted: 26 July 2018 / Published: 30 July 2018
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Abstract
Public participation has become an important driver in increasing public acceptance of policy decisions, especially in the forestry sector, where conflicting interests among the actors are frequent. Stakeholder Analysis, complemented by Social Network Analysis techniques, was used to support the participatory process and [...] Read more.
Public participation has become an important driver in increasing public acceptance of policy decisions, especially in the forestry sector, where conflicting interests among the actors are frequent. Stakeholder Analysis, complemented by Social Network Analysis techniques, was used to support the participatory process and to understand the complex relationships and the strong interactions among actors. This study identifies the forestry training sector stakeholders in the Western Italian Alps and describes their characteristics and priorities, in relation to training activities on entrepreneurial topics for forestry loggers. The hierarchy among actors has been identified, highlighting their respective roles and influence in decision-making processes. A lack of mutual communication among different and well-separated categories of actors has been identified, while good connections between stakeholders, operating in different territories, despite the presence of administrative and logistical barriers, have been observed. Training is a topic involving actors with different roles and interests. Nevertheless, all actors consider training about how to improve yields of forest operations and how to assess investments, particularly in innovative machinery, to be crucially important and conducive to a better comprehension of the wood supply chain and the enhancement of the raw material. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Participatory Forestry: Involvement, Information and Science)
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Open AccessArticle Validation of a Methodology for Confidence-Based Participatory Forest Management
Forests 2018, 9(7), 399; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9070399
Received: 30 April 2018 / Revised: 29 June 2018 / Accepted: 2 July 2018 / Published: 4 July 2018
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Abstract
This paper formulates a new strategy for participatory forest management consisting of encouraging public participation as long as it increases empathy among participants. The strategy requires the homogeneous representation of the opinion of a participant (i.e., to determine how they assess a forest [...] Read more.
This paper formulates a new strategy for participatory forest management consisting of encouraging public participation as long as it increases empathy among participants. The strategy requires the homogeneous representation of the opinion of a participant (i.e., to determine how they assess a forest plan and identify the best one). Utility assessments are prepared for participants through pair-comparisons between meaningful points in the territory and from value functions based on forest indicators. The best plan is designed by applying combinatorial optimization algorithms to the utility of a participant. The calculating of empathy—of one participant relative to another—is based on the equivalence of their respective utilities when the current forest plan is modified. This involves calculating the opinions that are due to systematic changes in the collective plan for those participants that each participant supposes will affect the utility of the other participants. Calculating empathy also requires knowing the interactions among participants, which have been incorporated through agent-based simulation models. Application of the above methodology has confirmed the association between increases in empathy and convergence of opinions in different scenarios: well and medium-informed participants and with and without interaction among them, which verifies the proposed strategy. In addition, this strategy is easily integrated into available information systems and its outcomes show advantages over current participatory applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Participatory Forestry: Involvement, Information and Science)
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Open AccessArticle The Challenge of Diffusion in Forest Plans: A Methodological Proposal and Case Study
Forests 2018, 9(5), 240; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9050240
Received: 22 March 2018 / Revised: 30 April 2018 / Accepted: 30 April 2018 / Published: 2 May 2018
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Abstract
Society’s participation in decisions regarding land planning and management is essential for reaching viable and long-lasting solutions. The success of forest plans depends on the involvement of different stakeholders. In turn, stakeholder involvement depends on the representativity achieved in public participation in the [...] Read more.
Society’s participation in decisions regarding land planning and management is essential for reaching viable and long-lasting solutions. The success of forest plans depends on the involvement of different stakeholders. In turn, stakeholder involvement depends on the representativity achieved in public participation in the development of the plan. The first stage, diffusion, is the key element in the process. This paper describes a methodology for the diffusion stage that obtains six times more participants than a similar process. Its aim is to achieve stakeholder representativity in the forestry sector in forest planning at a subregional level. The methodology is validated and applied in a municipality of Galicia, north-west Spain. It is evaluated in terms of efficiency considering the effort in each stage and the results achieved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Participatory Forestry: Involvement, Information and Science)
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Open AccessArticle A Participatory Approach to Evaluating Strategies for Forest Carbon Mitigation in British Columbia
Forests 2018, 9(4), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9040225
Received: 26 March 2018 / Revised: 18 April 2018 / Accepted: 19 April 2018 / Published: 23 April 2018
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Abstract
To be successful, actions for mitigating climate change in the forest and forest sector will not only need to be informed by the best available science, but will also require strong public and/or political acceptability. This paper presents the results of a novel [...] Read more.
To be successful, actions for mitigating climate change in the forest and forest sector will not only need to be informed by the best available science, but will also require strong public and/or political acceptability. This paper presents the results of a novel analytical-deliberative engagement process that brings together stakeholders and Indigenous Peoples in participatory workshops in the interior and coastal regions of British Columbia (BC) to evaluate a set of potential forest carbon mitigation alternatives. In particular, this study examines what objectives are prioritized by stakeholders and Indigenous Peoples when discussing forest carbon mitigation in BC’s forests, as well as the perceived effectiveness of, and levels of support for, six forest-based carbon mitigation strategies. We start by describing the methodological framework involving two series of workshops. We then describe the results from the first round of workshops where participants identified 11 objectives that can be classified into four categories: biophysical, economic, social, and procedural. Afterwards, we discuss the second series of workshops, which allowed participants to evaluate six climate change mitigation strategies against the objectives previously identified, and highlight geographical differences, if any, between BC’s coastal and interior regions. Our results effectively illustrate the potential and efficacy of our novel methodology in informing a variety of stakeholders in different regions, and generating consistent results with a surprising degree of consensus on both key objectives and preference for mitigation alternatives. We conclude with policy recommendations on how to consider various management objectives during the design and implementation of forest carbon mitigation strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Participatory Forestry: Involvement, Information and Science)
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Open AccessArticle Comparison of the Economic Value of Urban Trees through Surveys with Photographs in Two Seasons
Forests 2018, 9(3), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9030132
Received: 22 January 2018 / Revised: 28 February 2018 / Accepted: 8 March 2018 / Published: 10 March 2018
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Abstract
Urban trees are generally considered to be a public asset and are an important part of a city’s heritage. The aim of this work is to analyse the influence of season on the economic appraisal of various trees in Madrid. Photographs were taken [...] Read more.
Urban trees are generally considered to be a public asset and are an important part of a city’s heritage. The aim of this work is to analyse the influence of season on the economic appraisal of various trees in Madrid. Photographs were taken of 43 individual tree specimens in summer and winter. The survey was designed to compare differences of opinion in the economic assessment of trees. The trees were assessed by eight valuation methods used worldwide. A total of 78 agroforestry engineering students answered a written survey, and the variables considered were: percentage of students who always evaluated the tree equally (%0), percentage of students who assigned more value to the summer photograph (%S), and percentage of students who assigned more value to the winter photograph (%W). The results were analysed by the statistical test of equal proportions and ANOVA to detect differences according to tree type (evergreen or deciduous), species, and other groupings made by the authors in previous works. W and S percentages are similar. The ANOVA analysis rejects the equality of percentages of S and W between groups. The Welch test rejects the equality of the percentage of S, W, and O between species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Participatory Forestry: Involvement, Information and Science)
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Review

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Open AccessReview The Contribution of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Practices to Forest Management: The Case of Northeast Asia
Forests 2017, 8(12), 496; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8120496
Received: 9 November 2017 / Revised: 7 December 2017 / Accepted: 8 December 2017 / Published: 12 December 2017
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Abstract
This study aims to introduce the potential applicability of traditional ecological knowledge and community forestry in Northeast Asia, including China, Japan, and South Korea. In ancient Northeast Asia, forest policies and practices were based on Fengshui (an old Chinese concept regarding the flow [...] Read more.
This study aims to introduce the potential applicability of traditional ecological knowledge and community forestry in Northeast Asia, including China, Japan, and South Korea. In ancient Northeast Asia, forest policies and practices were based on Fengshui (an old Chinese concept regarding the flow of vital forces), with which forests were managed under community forestry. However, these traditional systems diminished in the twentieth century owing to the decline of traditional livelihood systems and extreme deforestation. Recently, legacies from traditional ecological knowledge and community forestry have been revisited and incorporated into forest policies, laws, and management practices because of growing needs for sustainable forest use in China, Japan, and Korea. This reevaluation of traditional ecological knowledge and community forestry has provided empirical data to help improve forestry systems. Although traditional ecological knowledge and community forestry in Northeast Asia have been scarcely theorized, they play a significant role in modifying forest management practices in the face of socioeconomic changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Participatory Forestry: Involvement, Information and Science)
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