Four decades of innovation research in forestry and the forest-based industries – A systematic literature review


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This article conducts a systematic literature review of journal articles on innovation in forestry and forest-based industries. We include international, English language, peer-reviewed research articles included in the scientific databases Scopus and Web of Science since the 1980s. Our search for articles that specifically mention “innovation/innovativeness” and “forest/wood/timber” from a social science perspective resulted in 230 studies. Our analysis provides a quantitative overview of institutional contexts, science fields, methods, and topical orientations. On the basis of qualitative content analyses, we also describe the historical development of the research field, summarize the main insights for the central research themes on firm and system levels, and illustrate the state-of-knowledge for selected innovation fields. We conclude with research trends and gaps with regard to the applied research approaches and methods. Overall, the established concepts and approaches from innovation research are well received in forest sector innovation studies, although newer trends could be taken up more progressively. The analysed articles apply various quantitative and qualitative methods and are dominated by country and (sub-)sectoral case studies. A greater variety of methods could enrich the knowledge base and a stronger application of comparative analyses across countries and sectors could substantiate previous findings.

*This paper is co-authored by the researcher from the Forest Policy Research Network

Reference: Weiss, G.; Ludvig, A.; Živojinvić, I. 2020. Four decades of innovation research in forestry and the forest-based industries – A systematic literature review. Forest Policy and Economics, 120, 102288