Policies supporting social innovation in the forest-based sector: aligning diverging interests and creating synergies in forest use practices

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Todora Rogelja from the Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture, and Forestry (Doctoral School Land, Environment, Resources, and Health) of the University of Padova investigated policy framework conditions for supporting social innovation in the forest-use practices. She visited EFICEEC in Vienna where she was hosted by Dr. Alice Ludvig. The visit took place from 01. October –21 October 2017.

In spite of the ‘state of creative destruction’, in many European countries, traditional organization of forest-based sectors ensures domination of public actors, which results in top-down decision-making and exclusion of other stakeholders. Nevertheless, public forest-based sector could utilize social innovation to involve all relevant stakeholders in designing appropriate and innovative governance schemes. 

The SSV is part of a broader Ph.D. research aiming to explore governance capacities of the public actors for supporting social innovation in the forest-based sector. The main objective of the SSV was to gain familiarity with appropriate methods for analyzing how, and to what extent relevant policy programmes (i.e. forestry, rural development, energy, etc.) support/hinder social innovation initiatives based on selected forest-use practices (selected case: Charcoal land initiative in Slovenia). To fulfill the main objective, specific objectives of the conducted visit were to identify and analyze policy programmes relevant for the selected case of Charcoal Land initiative in Slovenia with respect to social innovation and to improve the proposed case study design using Yin (2009) methodology. 

During the visit, Todora identified 18 relevant policy documents on Slovenian national level and comprehended the method for analyzing identified policy document relevant for social innovation. In addition, trough fruitful discussions, the case study design was improved, by clarifying the focus of the case study, fine-tuning the research questions, and enhancing the overall logic of the case. Additionally, future collaborations, as well as joint publications, are planned.  

I can conclude that the EFI SSV proved as inspirational and helpful for strengthening and furthering my research. EFICEEC office had a positive and stimulating environment for a young researcher.