IUFRO Scientific Achievement Award for Professor Maria Nijnik, member of S4C Scientific Steering Committee

Professor Maria Nijnik, a member of Science for the Carpathians (S4C) Scientific Steering Committee and principal scientist of the James Hutton Institute, United Kingdom, has been distinguished with a Scientific Achievement Award by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), on account of outstanding contributions to social science research on forestry, climate change and social innovation in forestry, with a particular focus on mountain regions. IUFRO specifically recognised Professor Nijnik input in the development of novel ways of stakeholder evaluation of landscape change, conceptualization of multi-functional forestry and assessing of the cost-effectiveness and social acceptability of woodlands expansion. IUFRO highlighted that Professor Nijnik’s scientific accomplishments also cover socio-economic, including institutional and governance aspects of tackling climate change through forestry in Scotland and several other countries, and internationally (under REDD, REDD+, CDM etc.) as well as climate change adaptation.

IUFRO is the global network for forest science cooperation. It aims to advance research excellence and foster the development of science-based solutions to forest-related challenges for the benefit of forests and people worldwide. It links more than 15,000 scientists in almost 700 Member Organizations in over 110 countries. It features a newly launched Unit of 4.05.05 coordinated by Professor Nijnik, IUFRO Office Holder, who is also Deputy Coordinator of Managerial Economics.

Professor Nijnik said that innovation, including social innovation, is considered a driving force of sustainable forestry development. It helps regenerate the economy, improve the environment and advance people’s quality of life especially in marginalised rural areas, such as some localities of the Carpathian Mountains. She stressed that it is timely and worthy for scientists, the community of practice and local people to explore the opportunities arising from innovations. The innovation theories have not been rural (or mountain) areas-specific, and forestry-specific. Thus, filling this knowledge gap, our innovative science and activities of the IUFRO Unit and beyond, including of S4C, will advance and promote the knowledge of innovation in the context of forestry and marginalised rural areas.

Professor Nijnik said – I am delighted that IUFRO have recognised the importance of social innovation and entrepreneurship as a means of delivering support to people, including forest-dependent communities, and helping in strengthening the resilience of socio-ecological systems. IUFRO have recognised that Professor Nijnik has made outstanding contributions to the investigation of emerging developments in forestry, and that the key scientific outputs can serve as a basis for improved decision-making processes, contributing to the reinforcement of sustainable rural/climate policies, and forest management practices.

In a special issue of IUFRO News the names and summaries of accomplishments of the recipients of the Scientific Achievement Award presented during the IUFRO 2019 Congress in Curitiba, Brazil, are released. The European Forest Institute (EFI)  reflected that “Two members of EFI’s Scientific Advisory Board have been awarded the prestigious IUFRO Scientific Achievement Awards 2019”, sending their “warm congratulations to Prof  Dr. Maria Nijnik, UK and Prof. Dr. Elena Paoletti, Italy”.  Professor Nijnik said – I am grateful for the nomination and to all who supported it. I am also pleased to bring this year’s IUFRO Scientific Achievement Award to Scotland.  The award will be presented to Professor Nijnik in a special ceremony at the IUFRO headquarters in Vienna, planned for 28 of October 2019.

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