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Experts on the Field of Forest Biodiversity

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Kohl, Johanna
Conference: The Commons in an Age of Global Transition: Challenges, Risks and Opportunities, the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Oaxaca, Mexico
Conf. Date: August 9-13
Date: 2004
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/829
Sector: Forestry
Subject(s): IASC
Abstract: "Forest biodiversity is defined, theorised and studied in and by the natural sciences. Now social sciences are encroaching on the same field. Social and natural sciences (among others) are co-operating in the forest discourse. New methods, theories, definitions, norms and actors have evolved in the field of forest biodiversity. "The focus in this study is on the following questions: 1. How do social sciences define, theorise and study forest biodiversity as opposed to natural sciences? 2. What is the role of social scientists in the field? 3. How do these two disciplines co-operate? and 4. What is the social dimension of forest biodiversity? I have based my study on qualitative semistructured interviews. I have interviewed social and natural scientists and also other actors in the field of forest management in Finland (forest industry, authorities, nongovernmental groups). "The data has been analysed by using actor network theory and constructivism as a method. However, the principal and most descriptive concept for analysing the data is constructed on the concept of agora). Agora is a social place where, for example, knowledge transformation takes place. Moreover, it is a public space where different actors meet. "Preliminary results indicate that the social dimensions of biodiversity are not explicitly defined, and the content is unclear to the interviewees. There are disciplinary (epistemological) differences, but intradisciplinary differences are also notable (e.g. definitions of nature conservation ). Co-operation is considered important (e.g. certification), yet the (explicit) natural sciences dominate the (sometimes implicit) social sciences in the discourse. "It seems that more discussions and studies are needed to transform or even define the content of forest biodiversity and its social dimension. Forest discussions need to be open to new dynamics, and transdisciplinarity may be one answer."

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