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Social innovation for biodiversity: A literature review and research challenges
Ecological Economics  (IF5.389),  Pub Date : 2022-01-06, DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2021.107336
Rafael Ziegler, Josephine Balzac-Arroyo, Rick Hölsgens, Sarah Holzgreve, Fergus Lyon, Joachim H. Spangenberg, Philipp P. Thapa

There are calls for social innovation to help with the effort to halt biodiversity loss. However, research on social innovation and biodiversity is dispersed and covers a multitude of disciplines. A systematic overview of research on social innovation and biodiversity is missing and this paper contributes by focusing on social innovation to tackle the drivers of biodiversity loss and unsustainability. The paper reviews research on social innovation in changing land use (agriculture, forestry, aquatic ecosystems and cities), in tackling exploitation of organisms (fishing, hunting, harvesting), and in addressing threats of climate change, pollution and invasive species. Across these drivers, we find a) a strong emphasis on social innovation as civic action for changing practices in addressing unsustainability, b) that social innovation research tends to focus on local experimentation although there are bodies of literature on policy-driven innovations and consumer/producer-driven innovations, and c) that there is very little research taking a critical perspective to explore negative or unintended consequences of social innovation. Drawing on the review, we propose three cross cutting issues that can be a focus for future research, practice and supportive policy: social innovation for nature-based solutions, social innovation for participatory governance, and social innovation for technology that tackles biodiversity loss.