JEOD is calling for papers on Socio-economic Development in Biosphere Reserves

6 July 2016

We invite you to submit a paper on community-based, collaborative solutions to sustainable economic development in and around Biosphere Reserves to the Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity (JEOD).

Guest editors: Colin Campbell, Silvia Sacchetti, Flaviano Zandonai

Submission: Please submit by November 1st, 2016

JEOD is planning a whole Issue completely devoted to the topic of community-based, collaborative solutions to the sustainable development of Biosphere Reserves to be published in June 2017. The topic relates closely to the discussions on
Economics in and around Biosphere Reserves chaired by Colin Campbell at the 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves in Lima, Peru in March 2016. We think JEOD would be an excellent arena for the debate that developed in Lima and could provide broad accessibility (JEOD is open access) and support future ideas for shared projects.
The topic is also closely connected with how we structure “space” within Biosphere Reserves for collaborative sustainable economic development to emerge. We (Silvia Sacchetti and Colin Campbell) recently published a paper in which the idea of space is central to issues around engagement, participation and shared understanding. This question of cultivating space is also relevant to the Social Enterprise & Biosphere Development Framework launched by Assist Social Capital in 2013.


landscape-nature-sunset-trees-largeDue to the increasing challenge of human impacts on the natural environment and its biodiversity, UNESCO launched the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme in 1971 (Ishwaran, Persic and Tri, 2008; Coetzer, Witkowski and Erasmus, 2014). Out of this framework emerged the concept for context-specific conservation (Ishwaran, Persic and Tri, 2008) as well as the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) (Ishwaran, 2009).
The concept is considered as an international tool for cooperation related to nature conservation, interdisciplinary research and education as well as the basis for developing a sustainable long-term approach for improving the relationship between the environment and the people living within it (Ishwaran, Persic and Tri, 2008; Coetzer, Witkowski and Erasmus, 2014).

In general, the Biosphere Reserve (BR) framework and concept have shifted over time from an initial prioritisation of conservation and research towards the idea of sustainable development where the BR fulfils three main functions: (i) conservation role; (ii) logistic support function; and (iii) development role (UNESCO, 1996; Ishwaran, Persic and Tri, 2008; Coetzer, Witkowski and Erasmus, 2014).
More recently, the Madrid Action Plan (MAP) (UNESCO-MAB, 2008) emphasised  the role of BRs as “training grounds” (Learning Laboratories – LLabs) to develop sustainable development principles translated into local contexts whereby greater local participation and “social learning” are to be integrated (Reed and Massie, 2013) and shared across the WNBR (Ishwaran, Persic and Tri, 2008).
Bioreserves are “commons” at all effects: access cannot be restricted and the use of one individual subtracts to the possibility of another individual to use the resource. Therefore, without a deep knowledge of their nature, and definition of appropriate principles for interaction, commons are overused to the detriment of each and every user. The danger called for by Hardin (1968) in his seminal piece on “the tragedy of the commons” reinstates that overuse undermines the resilience of the common that loses its qualities and ceases to be a resource for the community.
Institutional economist and political scientists have long studied how cooperation and trust within communities of interests are the pre-conditions of the management of commons and their resilience. Specifically, Ostrom (1990) argued in favour of self-defined rules by which the community of users and beneficiaries understands the common advantages of cooperating and share their sedimented knowledge to define and enforce common rules for the use of common pool of resources. Ostrom’s and other scholarly work argue against the use and imposition of top-down rules, disconnected from the customs and ability to find commonly beneficial solutions of interested parties. She, in fact, argues that participatory solutions are more promptly respected and enforced.
The challenge for policy makers and communities is to endogenously develop a model for the sustainable use of BR, by self-defining the rules that best serve the development of socio-economic activities (such as sustainable tourism, forestry, waste management, housing, and welfare services) without compromising the ability of the BR system and its population to re-produce and thrive in the long run. Specifically, social capital has been acknowledged in the literature as an immaterial asset with very powerful material consequences, in terms of community prosperity (Putnam, 2000; Woolkock, 2001).
Recently, Sacchetti and Campbell (2015) have identified a framework for studying community development, emphasising the role of social enterprise and public engagement in fostering a space of cooperative relations amongst communities of interest which can enhance common welfare. Likewise, the role of social enterprise and public engagement is central in Social Enterprise & Biosphere Development Framework launched by Assist Social Capital in 2013.
Social enterprises are distinct from traditional third sector organisations as they strive to be independent of grants and donations. They aim to be economically self-sustainable whilst delivering and reinvesting their surpluses into the business to bring about social and environmental benefits for the wider community whilst also providing space for the development of cooperative relations as well as opportunities and increasing community ownership. This type of social venture is present in almost all economic sector including banking, agriculture and social services.

Overall, the social enterprise model is growing internationally and “(…) in recent decades the SE [social economy] has not only asserted its ability to make an effective contribution to solving the new social problems, it has also strengthened its position as a necessary institution for stable and sustainable economic growth, matching services to needs, increasing the value of economic activities serving social needs, fairer income and wealth distribution, correcting labour market imbalances and, in short, deepening and strengthening economic democracy.” (Chaves and Marcós Campos, 2008: 6).
Likewise, public participation plays a central role in the framework as it supports the emergence of an environment within which enterprises can thrive. Participation is closely aligned with social capital since it is an effective way to extend networks of trust, so crucial to the flow of information and resources. Participatory approaches are based on the value of engaging and empowering citizens to identify local solutions to local issues. There are different levels of participation from the most basic level of information sharing up to community ownership and participatory democracy. Embedding a culture of participation opens up previously unidentified opportunities for collective action and cooperation. As a result participation can substantially contribute to the aims of BRs to be learning sites for sustainable development and as spaces for experimentation and development of creative ideas.

Submission procedure

Building on this background, papers should touch upon ideas on how to accommodate community development and bioreserve sustainability. Specifically, in this special issue we are interested in experiences that emphasise the role (and limits) of social economy organisations and public participation programmes for enhancing community ownership.

Contributions should aim at considering at least some of the elements emphasised in the framework proposed in Sacchetti and Campbell (2015: 35), published in JEOD, vol. 3, issue 2.

Detailed information on the submission process and style requirements are available in the section “for authors” of the Journal website ( Submissions can be made through the section “submit an article”. Please indicate that you are submitting for the “Community engagement models in and around Biosphere Reserves” issue.

Deadline for submissions: November 1st, 2016

Please direct any inquiries to the issue’s guest editors:
Colin Campbell ([email protected]), Silvia Sacchetti ([email protected]) and Flaviano Zandonai ([email protected]). We will appreciate if you let us know at your earliest convenience if you are interested in submitting a paper, so that we can plan the refereeing process and the schedule for publication effectively.


Chaves, R. & Monzón Campos, J.L. (2008). The social economy in the European Union, CIRIEC Working Paper, No. 2008/02.

Coetzer, K.L., Witkowski, E.T.F. & Erasmus, B.F.N. (2014). Reviewing Biosphere Reserves globally: effective conservation action or bureaucratic label?, Biological Reviews, 89: 82-104. DOI:

Hardin, G. (1968). The tragedy of the commons, Science, 162(3859): 1243-1248. DOI:

Ishwaran, N., Persic, A. & Tri, N.H. (2008). Concept and practice: the case of UNESCO biosphere reserves, International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development, 7(2): 118-131. DOI:

Ishwaran, N. (2009). Editorial. In: UNESCO (Ed). Man and Nature Living in Harmony. The UNESCO Courier, 6: 3.

Ostrom, E. (1990). Governing the commons. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. DOI:

Putnam, R.D. (2000). Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon and Schuster. DOI:

Sacchetti, S. & Campbell, C. (2015). Creating space for communities: social enterprise and the bright side of social capital, Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity, 3(2): 32-48. DOI:

UNESCO (1996). Biosphere reserves: The Seville Strategy and the Statutory Framework of the World Network. Paris: UNESCO.

UNESCO-MAB (2008). Madrid Action Plan for Biosphere Reserves (2008-2013). Paris: UNESCO.

Woolcock, M. (2001). The place of social capital in understanding social and economic outcomes. The contribution of Human and Social Capital to Sustained Economic Growth and well-being. [Report] International Symposium Report, Human Resources development Canada (HRDC) and OECD, chapter 5: 65-88.


About JEOD

JEOD was created in 2012 and is published by Euricse (European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises) and to date has published four volumes and seven issues. JEOD is ranked 615 out of 1,618 in the IDEAS/RePEc Simple Impact Factors for Journals Ranking. In the Italian ranking JEOD is the second best journal dealing with cooperative enterprises after the Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics. We consider this to be an excellent result for a young journal.

We hope that you will be interested in the subject matter of this forthcoming issue of the journal and that you will consider submitting a paper on “Community engagement models in and around you Biosphere Reserves” to JEOD. Papers should follow academic writing criteria, so it would be good if manuscripts include at least one academic author. We aim to publish high quality papers, which includes a standard blind peer review evaluation process.