University of Oulu

Sarkki, S., Parpan, T., Melnykovych, M. et al. Landscape Ecol (2019) 34: 1601.

Beyond participation! : social innovations facilitating movement from authoritative state to participatory forest governance in Ukraine

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Author: Sarkki, Simo1; Parpan, Taras2; Melnykovych, Mariana3,4,5;
Organizations: 1Department of Cultural Anthropology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Ukrainian Research Institute of Mountain Forestry, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine
3Institute of Ecological Economics and Management, Ukrainian National Forestry University, Lviv, Ukraine
4Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences Group, The James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, UK
5European Forest Institute, Barcelona, Spain
6NGO FORZA, Agency for Sustainable Development of Carpathian Region, Uzhhorod, Ukraine
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-07-10


Tuning participatory processes is often insufficient to achieve transition from authoritative state to democratic and participatory forest governance due to institutional inertia and unwillingness to truly decentralize decision-making power. Social innovations as reconfigurations of relationships between state, market actors, civil society and science can help to meet concerns of local people about forest Ecosystem Services (ES). In Ukraine, the Swiss-Ukrainian Forest Development (FORZA) pilot project initiated a social innovation process complementing regional forest planning with local participatory community development plans in Transcarpathia. This paper examines what kind of changes need to accompany the succession of participatory practices in transition processes from authoritative state to democratic forest governance, and what are the lessons learned for social innovations based on the Ukrainian case study. This paper synthesizes knowledge on the FORZA case analyzed by inductive content analysis, and integrates these local level results with a national survey (N = 244) on Ukrainian forest governance. Transition processes need to go “beyond participation” by (i) legal reforms to better acknowledge ES important for local people, (ii) a change from an exclusive focus on timber to acknowledging multiple ES, (iii) changed spatial and temporal rationales of state-based governance, and (iv) recognition of local people as credible experts. Social innovations can detect key barriers to the transition during the policy experiments, and need to pay significant attention on how the novel practices can be sustained after the pilot, replicated elsewhere and up-scaled. Without such considerations, social innovation projects may only remain as a marginal curiosity.

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Series: Landscape ecology
ISSN: 0921-2973
ISSN-E: 1572-9761
ISSN-L: 0921-2973
Volume: 34
Issue: 7
Pages: 1601 - 1618
DOI: 10.1007/s10980-019-00787-x
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1172 Environmental sciences
517 Political science
4112 Forestry
Funding: Open access funding provided by University of Oulu including Oulu University Hospital. We are grateful to the Scottish Government, who supported this research through their Rural Affairs and the Environment Strategic Research Programme and the European Commission for support to the project on Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas (SIMRA) provided from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 677622. We also wish to thank the ENPI-FLEG II Program and participants in the research events. Finally, we would like to thank H. Foellmi for providing valuable comments on the previous version of the paper and Joshua Msika for the proofreading.
EU Grant Number: (677622) SIMRA - Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2019. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.