Measuring and monitoring socio-cultural sustainability in the action of forest biodiversity cooperation networks
Rantala M., Hujala T., Kurttila M. (2012). Measuring and monitoring socio-cultural sustainability in the action of forest biodiversity cooperation networks. Silva Fennica vol. 46 no. 3 article id 52. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.52
To safeguard overall sustainability in forest resource management, the ecological, economic, social, and cultural dimensions of sustainability should all be considered. However, the socio-cultural impacts are frequently contemplated only weakly in sustainability assessments. Hitherto, attempts to operationalize socio-cultural impacts arising from economic utilization or conservation of forest resources have been perceived as vague when compared to rigorous ecological and economic indicators. One reason is that socio-cultural impacts of forest management on individuals and communities are many and by nature context- and case-specific: they need local definition, which hampers diffusion of good solutions. This study developed a multi-criteria method for measuring and monitoring socio-cultural impacts of forest resource management; the case of cooperation network projects within Forest Biodiversity Programme for Southern Finland (METSO) provided empirical data. Based on a literature review, a set of 10 criteria and 25 indicators was compiled. Cumulative utility scores, presenting networks’ contributions to socio-cultural sustainability, were generated using performance, expert evaluation and weighting data and an additive utility model. The method enables longitudinal monitoring of socio-cultural impacts, which is beneficial because outcomes are different at different time points of projects’ life cycles and some appear with a delay. The method can be used in comparing sub-utility distributions i.e. monitoring units’ performance profiles, providing valuable information for policy-makers. The multi-criteria approach and the list of socio-cultural criteria are internationally transferable to other countries and contexts such as forest bioenergy, nature tourism, watershed management, that call for analysing socio-cultural impacts of forest resource management activity on private lands.
Received 30 March 2012 Accepted 4 July 2012 Published 31 December 2012