Motive Project

Article alert: Climate change adaptation and sustainable forest management: A proposed reflexive research agenda

by: Ulla Vänttinen

Climate change adaptation and sustainable forest management: A proposed reflexive research agenda, 2011. Klenk N.L.,, Adams B.W., Bull G.Q., Innes J.L., Cohen S.J. and Larson B.C.


This article is a synthesis of the salient topics discussed in the Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) Workshop, held at the University of British Columbia, February 14–16, 2011, and lays out a research agenda based on the recommendations for future research that emerged in the workshop. The proposed research agenda is framed using the theory of reflexive modernization to enable the forest research community to consider how different modes of knowledge production can support adaptation within SFM. The workshop discussions highlighted the importance of considering extreme events and high uncertainty in planning for adaptation within SFM. Participants discussed the utility of climate change modeling and risk assessment for local decision-making. In addition, there was general agreement that adaptive collaborative management could facilitate adaptation within SFM, despite difficulties in implementation. The recommendations for future research that emerged from the workshop focused on climate change-related assessments, modeling techniques, and governance and institutional enablers/barriers to adaptation. This broad research agenda, however, can be approached using different modes of knowledge production, illustrating different orders of reflexivity. Apart from a call for more traditional academic research to improve SFM under climate change, workshop participants referred to the need for participatory research, in which researchers would be embedded in communities and other contexts of application, engaging in a “client-focused” partnership model to produce knowledge that is robust, compelling, legitimate and, above all, locally relevant. It is hoped that this alternative mode of knowledge production would result in a social license and greater political will to accelerate adaptation within SFM.

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