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Renars Felcis, Scientific assistant in The Advanced Social and Political Research Institute (ASPRI), Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Latvia.

Topic: Principles of common governance for innovations in case of privately owned forests in Latvia

Keywords: common governance; collaborative networks; practical cooperation; private forests; forest ecosystems


Due to the inclusion of forest resources in the wider ecosystem, there is a challenge of the fragmented forest ownership in Latvia, because there are many forest owners who own small areas. The situation of fragmented private properties was caused by land restitution (Živojinović et al., 2015), by assigning inherited small land (including forests and forest land) territories to their former heirs after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Changes in forest governance and management have been determined by several factors: restitution of forests and opening the markets, liberalisation of trade after accession to the European Union, short distance to paper and wood processing enterprises in Scandinavia and Poland, abolition of nature preserves in forest after the collapse of the Soviet Union (Potapov et al., 2014) (Brooke, Linkevicius, & Cing, 2009) (Lazdinis, Carver, Carlsson, Tõnisson, & Vilkriste, 2004). These indicators show a dynamic forest management environment, but do not reflect the diversity of forest management forms. Research question can be formulated as follows. How do the principles of common governance of common resources work? Common governance of forest resources becomes apparent in collaborative networks, in which, using theoretical perspectives of the sociology of environmental flows and actor-network theories on common resources, the following examples can be identified:

a. Participation in decision-making on the development of the organisation in the case of forest owner
b. Internet auction platform, where small private forest owners can offer their felling sites as equal
partners in the market;
c. Helping neighbours in everyday issues.

Common governance manifest itself in different forms of cooperation between forest owners – institutions, organisations, networks. Organisation creation is a deliberate effort to promote cooperation by sharing experience, knowledge, information, good practices, thus organisations are a place where cooperation as practical cooperation can be well identified.

Practical collaboration in forest management reflect the needs of forest owners in a different cases, but the process of expressing them and interpreting them at nested levels, can be understood as an agreements on needs. Emergence of issues is taking place at different levels, but empirical material shows that they find support in bottom-up feedback. Governance, as top-down process initiates a deliberation of the relevance of certain policy regulation to the real situation at operational level on the one hand, but on the other hand, actors are mediators, expressing the opportunities that forest owners can take, they inform and educate about these opportunities

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