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Knowledge Production and Learning for Sustainable Forest Landscapes: The European Continent’s West and East as a Laboratory

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P. Angelstam, M. Manton, O. Khaulyak, V. Naumov, S. Pedersen, N. Stryamets, J. Törnblom, S. Valasiuk, T. Yamelynets

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OECD: 04.01.KA:01.06.GU
To support human wellbeing, green (or ecological) infrastructure policy stresses the need to sustain functional networks of representative terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems for the sustainable provision of multiple ecosystem services. Implementing this means that the complexity of interactions between social and ecological systems at multiple spatial scales and levels of governance needs to be understood. Place-based knowledge production and learning through integration of different research disciplines in collaboration with actors and stakeholders (i.e. transdisciplinary research) is a key feature to achieve this goal. Using a suite of local landscapes and regions on the European continent’s West and East as a laboratory, we developed and applied a step-wise approach to produce knowledge and encourage learning towards functional green infrastructures. Our diagnoses of forest landscapes show that the functionality for wood production and biodiversity conservation was inversely related in the gradient fr om long to short forest management histories. In Europe’s West there is a need for increased quantity of, and more functional, protected areas; diversification of management methods; and landscape restoration. In NW Russia there are opportunities to intensify forest management, and to continue the land-sparing approach with zoning for different functions, thus reducing biodiversity loss. Examples of diagnoses of social systems included the evaluation of comprehensive planning in Sweden, outcomes for biodiversity conservation of forest certification in Lithuania, and learning from environmental managers. We conclude that the main challenge for securing functional green infrastructure is poor cross-sectoral integration. Treatment of social-ecological systems requires knowledge-based collaboration and learning. The diversity of landscape histories and governance legacies on the European continent’s West and East, including Russia, offers grand opportunities for both knowledge production about performance targets for green infrastructure functionality, as well as learning to adapt governance and management to regional contexts. Integrating project funding for both researchers and stakeholder collaboration is a necessary strategy to fill the transdisciplinary research agenda. However, formal and informal disciplinary and administrative barriers can lim it team building despite self-reflection and experience.


Per Angelstam1,2, PhD, Professor
Michael Manton2, PhD, Researcher
Olga Khaulyak3, MSc, Analyst
Vladimir Naumov4, PhD, Analyst
Simen Pedersen5, PhD, Associate Professor
Natalie Stryamets6, PhD, Researcher
Johan Törnblom1, PhD, Researcher
Sviataslau Valasiuk7, PhD, Researcher
Taras Yamelynets8, PhD, Associate Professor


1School for Forest Management, Faculty of Forest Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, PO Box 43, Skinnskatteberg, SE-739 21, Sweden; e-mail:
2Institute of Forest Biology and Silviculture, Faculty of Forest Science and Ecology, Aleksandras Stulginskis University, Studentu, 13, Akademija, Kauno, LT-53362, Lithuania; e-mail:
3Agency for Development and Cooperation, Chornovola Avenue, 63, Office 706, Lviv, 79000, Ukraine; e-mail:
4Metria AB, Gävle, SE-801 23, Sweden; e-mail:
5Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management, Faculty of Applied Ecology, Agricultural Sciences and Biotechnology, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Campus Evenstad, Koppang, N-2480, Norway; e-mail:
6Foscari University of Venice, Via Torrino 155, Venice, Italy; e-mail:
7University of Warsaw, Długa str., 44/50, Warszawa, 00-241, Poland; e-mail:
8Ivan Franko National University, Faculty of Geography, Doroshenko str., 41, Lviv, 79000, Ukraine; e-mail:


biodiversity, bio-economy, collaboration, ecosystem services, environmental history, gap analysis, governance, green infrastructure, habitat modelling, intensification, landscape approach, planning, stakeholder mapping, transdisciplinary, rural developmen


This paper is dedicated with deep appreciation to Marine Elbakidze, without whom the work reported here would not have happened. The inspiration for this review article was a round-table discussion among a broad range of stakeholders about sustainable forest management led by Per Angelstam in Arkhangelsk 2017-11-30, initiated by Mårten Frankby at the Swedish Consulate in Saint Petersburg. Funding for this work was received from Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation, SIDA, Swedish Institute, Swedish Ministry of Environment, and FORMAS (grants 2011-1737 and 2017-1342). We thank Olga Bourlak, Fatima Cruz and Sergey Koptev for stimulating comments.

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Angelstam P., Manton M., Khaulyak O., Naumov V., Pedersen S., Stryamets N., Törnblom J., Valasiuk S., Yamelynets T. Knowledge Production and Learning for Sustainable Forest Landscapes: The European Continent’s West and East as a Laboratory. Lesnoy Zhurnal [Forestry Journal], 2019, no. 1, pp. 9–31. DOI: 10.17238/issn0536-1036.2019.1.9


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Knowledge Production and Learning for Sustainable Forest Landscapes: The European Continent’s West and East as a Laboratory


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