The responsive bioeconomy: The need for inclusion of citizens and environmental capability in the forest based bioeconomy
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CitationMustalahti Irmeli. (2017). The responsive bioeconomy: The need for inclusion of citizens and environmental capability in the forest based bioeconomy. Journal of Cleaner Production, 172, 3781-3790. 10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.06.132.
As climate change becomes an increasing concern in European countries, the bioeconomy could challenge previous conceptualizations about how states, citizens and corporations interact in everyday practices of natural resources governance. The conceptual understanding of responsive governance of the forest-based bioeconomy is an example of this challenge and is the topic of discussion in this paper. In Finland, there are efforts to support the transition towards the bio-based economy and to reform forest governance in an attempt to respond to local circumstances while mitigating global climate change. The recent articles have address the bioeconomy concept from political discourse point of view, the citizens participation has not yet been address sufficient in the current bioeconomy discourses. In order to fill this gap, this paper provides an empirical case from Finland and connects it to the theoretical contribution of responsive bioeconomy. The paper connects the capability approach and the forest based bioeconomy in the context of Finland. And argues that citizens could have capabilities and ability to participate in decisions about matters that directly affect their well-being. However, in the case of the forest based bioeconomy, the inclusion of citizens requires an interactive collaborative approach to empower various institutions and people to meet and debate on the development of their own living environment and environmental capability (i.e those bioeconomy opportunities to achieve outcomes people value). Citizens may not be able to find solutions and create the new innovations which the bioeconomy strategy require, yet it is the citizens who will live under the changed access to opportunities and entitlements including environmental services. For this reason, responsive governance and its adaptive and interactive administration need to ensure that many change actors are taken into account as a matter of basic justice in various processes of the bioeconomy transition. Therefore key aspects of change, such as citizens’ values, interests, knowhow and environmental entitlements need to be taken into account.