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Forestry and economic development: research challenges and possibilities for future interdisciplinary research in technology and economics

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The link between forestry and economic development has been studied in many projects in the past decade. Both economic research and technical research have contributed to this topic. The environment of forest research with interdisciplinary teams gives forest research institutions a special role. It is argued that forest research institutions should focus more on market driven innovations. Economists should analyse market strategies and markets upfront and technologists should do the research needed for the product development part of the innovation. Another topic addressed is the dominance of social science research concerning the role of forest research in rural economic development. Social science, including economics, can at best analyse the causes of and mechanisms behind a certain development. Technological research could contribute more concretely to the creation of new activities and should be more integrated in rural development research. The last point is that it is a paradox that forest research is local and mainly financed by national taxpayers, whereas the forest industry is becoming more and more global. Could the first step in globalization of forest research be the Nordic Forest Research Institute?

Keywords: Economic development; economics; forest research; rural development; technology

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Norwegian Forest Research Institute, Høgskoleveien 12, NO-1432 Ås, Norway, and Department of Economics and Resource Management, Agricultural University of Norway, P.O. Box 5033, NO-1432 Ås, Norway 2: Department of Forest Products and Markets, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 7060, SE-75007, Uppsala, Sweden 3: Faculty of Forestry, University of Joensuu, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101, Joensuu, Finland

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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