Institute for European Environmental Policy                                                                                                         Member of network of academics

Factors Affecting Governance Innovations for Ecosystem Services Provision: Insights From Two Self-Organized Forest Communities in Czechia And Slovakia

Analysis of the role of self-organized forest communities in innovative forest governance and sustainable forest ecosystem services provision.

Abstract: Self-organized forest communities (FCs) have governed common forests in a sustainable way in Europe for centuries. In most Central and Eastern European countries, this tradition was interrupted by the communist regime in the second half of the 20th century. The social demand for non-provisioning forest ecosystem services (FES) is increasing nowadays and FCs could play a significant role in their provision. However, FCs are currently facing many challenges, e.g., climate change, loss of income or changing social values. The paper investigates (i) the role of self-organized FCs in innovative forest governance and sustainable FES provision and (ii) specific conditions and fostering/hindering factors affecting implementation of innovative forest governance schemes by FCs in CEE.

Factors influencing forest governance innovations in two FCs in Czechia and Slovakia were identified and discussed during workshops, focus groups and semi-structured interviews with their members and stakeholders. It was shown that self-organized FCs could play a pioneering role in implementation of innovations as they are open to novel solutions and have the ability to flexibly and collectively respond to new challenges. Emphasis on non-provisioning FES, cooperation of actors, strong leadership and introduction of financial compensations are key fostering factors. In contrast, factors related to institutional settings (e.g., current legislative environment) are perceived as hindering.

Citation and link: Louda, J., Dubová, L., Špaček, M., Brnkaláková, S., Kluvánková, T. 2023. Factors affecting governance innovations for ecosystem services provision: Insights from two self-organized forest communities in Czechia and Slovakia. Ecosystem Services, 59,  101497.