Editorial Policies

Focus and Scope

Forest and Society is an international and interdisciplinary journal, which publishes peer-reviewed social, political and economic research relating to people, land, and forests. Forest and Society has main geographic focus on Southeast Asia but we do not limit research possibilities that compare between and across regions.

Forest and Society promotes scholarly, theoretical, pragmatic, and contemporary research, which makes a clear conceptual and methodological contribution to existing international literature. These may include but are not limited various fields such as: planning/management, geography, forestry, sociology, land-use, anthropology, history, legal studies, economics, environmental and sustainability studies, international relations, psychology, and others, particularly those that engage with forests.



Section Policies

Regular Research Articles

Regular research articles which have not been published previously, except in a preliminary form, may be submitted as regular papers/original research papers. The word limit is 8000 words (but not restricted), excluding Tables, Figures and Reference.

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Review Articles

Review papers exists for the expression of opinions, and allows authors to submit material which may not be appropriate for original research articles but which contains ideas worthy of publication.

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Policy forum

The policy forum format encourages submissions from researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers. Researchers long engaged on a particular issue that have identified emerging trends or key elements of an issue, practitioners noticing issues overlooked among the research community, or policymakers that have particular insights into the design, application, and implementation of a policy, are encouraged to submit through this format to shape research and policy agendas going forward. Envisioned as a shorter format that focuses on these emerging trends, policy forum submissions should target 1,500 - 3,000 words. Submissions will undergo a peer review process. 

The suggested outline for submissions should initially focus on a brief introduction about the issue at hand, present the overall reliability of the authors knowledge or authority on the topic, and present the relevance for contemporary debates on key issues of  environment-society relations going forward in Southeast Asia.

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Notes from the Field

Research contexts in South-East Asia -- including geographical, linguistic and cultural dimensions -- can be particularly challenging given the breadth and diversity across the region. Notes from the field provides a format for researchers that are interested in sharing their field work experiences and raising key questions about the complexities of data collection. The goal of this format is to exchange different experiences on field work, to encourage more rigorous discussions about the role of the researcher and various approaches to collecting data, as well as raising important discussions about ethical considerations. The suggested format is a 1,500 - 3,000 words reflective narrative in which ethical, methodological, empirical and other problems and solutions are presented. 

The suggested outline should begin by providing a brief introduction about the research, followed by a description of the research method(s), and focuses the content about the fieldwork issue that is being raised.

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Methodological Engagement

The boundaries between the different scientific disciplines have faded over the years. With the arrival of new technologies, for both communications and research applications, there have been increasing innovation on approaching research in new ways. Methodological engagement, as a format, encourages submissions that provide insight and direction about creative ways to tackling complex research problems. In this format we envision the cross-pollination of disciplines from social, political, ecological, spatial, economic, and others to trigger new debates and generate research ideas across a research field that is fraught with complexity. The format is open to creative interpretation but we suggest guidelines of between 1,500 - 3,000 words. 

The suggested outline should begin with a brief introduction about the research topic, the research traditions that are interwoven, and focuses on the methodological challenges, and the potential delivery of research outcomes.

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The Reports section consists of brief factual summaries of research and reports from institutions. Reports and Review Papers should comprise 500-5000 words.  

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Book Review

Book reviews should comprise 800-2000 words on new books, software and videos relevant to the scope of Forest and Society

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Conference Reports

Reports on major conferences of particular interest to Forest and Society, approximately 1000-2000 words

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Forthcoming Meetings

Notices of forthcoming meetings for listing in the Calendar section are welcomed. Entries must be received at least three months before publication.

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Special Section: Evaluating the Impacts of Payment for Forest Environmental Services in Vietnam

Payment for Forest Environmental Services (PFES) was first piloted in Vietnam in 2008 and nationally scaled out in 2010. PFES contributes to an astounding 22% of annual investments in the forestry sector in Vietnam, and is also considered by government as one of the main breakthrough policies in the sector during the past decade. Nevertheless, although PFES has gained significant achievements since it was first rolled out in 2008, the lack of rigorous and research-based approaches to assessing the effectiveness of PFES impacts, particularly in its relations to environment and livelihoods, makes it difficult to confirm the current status of its implementation.

  • Micah Fisher
  • Pham Thu Thuy
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Special Section on Land, livelihoods, and change amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in Southeast Asia

This special section of Forest and Society seeks out papers that examine in greater depth how livelihoods and the environment are changing, and might continue to reshape the future of Southeast Asia. 

  • Micah Fisher
  • Muhammad Alif Sahide
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The Future of Tanah Papua - Towards Multi-disciplinarity on Adat, Biodiversity, and Sustainable Development

Forest and Society is seeking submissions on the multiple layers of adat, conservation, and development issues in Tanah Papua. What questions do we need to ask for science and policy? What decisions, policies, and programs should be promoted to achieve appropriate balance between economic development, conservation, and sustainability? How can these decisions be shaped by the right actors, premised on the best available information, and developed through appropriate forums that encourage broad participation and transparency?

Types of contributions:

We are especially eager to receive contributions that explore the notion of futures, how we assess alternative trajectories, and the role of the next generation of land, development, and conservation in Tanah Papua. We anticipate the main contributions to be full length papers between 6,000 – 9,000 words. However, to encourage more diverse perspectives on these issues,  and accommodate the increasing trend toward research co-production, we are expanding submissions to incorporate shorter pieces (1,000 – 3,000 words) under targeted headings, including Policy Forum, Field Notes, and Methodological Engagement.


  • Policy Forum pieces should be short and to the point, addressing a particular aspect about contemporary regulatory, administrative, and other aspects of public policy specific to Tanah Papua.
  • Field Notes are intended to provide field insights into development, adat, and conservation as experienced among and by communities. This could include ethnobiological reflections, participatory mapping initiatives, local institutional practices and perspectives, and a range of other possibilities.
  • Methodological Engagement are submissions designed at identifying some of the unique challenges and realities of conducting research on these timely topics in Tanah Papua. Such methodological perspectives can bridge both the academic and the practical, and is geared towards supporting various stakeholders in evaluating the many elements and dynamics, as well as innovations for conducting meaningful research in Tanah Papua.

  • Rodrigo Cámara-Leret
  • Larry A. Fisher
  • Micah Fisher
  • Muhammad Alif Sahide
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Special Section: Applications of remote sensing technology for forest management and conservation in Southeast Asia

Opportunities to use remote sensing data for forest management and monitoring have greatly expanded in recent years. Rapid increases in satellite data availability and computing power have made large-scale, near-real time monitoring of land use change possible and affordable. The use of portable technologies, such as drone-mounted sensors, has also expanded, allowing researchers and practitioners to quickly capture detailed information about forest landscapes, often at relatively low costs compared to traditional survey methods.

To fully understand the impact these technological advances are having on forest management and conservation, research examining how remote sensing tools are used on the ground is needed. Forest and Society is initiating a call to papers aimed at investigating the use of remote sensing technologies and products in the management and conservation of forests in Southeast Asia. We are seeking studies that investigate how remote sensing data informs forest policy, land use planning, law enforcement, and conservation at national, sub-national, and local scales. These could range from analyses of national forest monitoring systems to local case studies exploring how conservation practitioners utilize remote sensing data in their work. We also invite remote sensing scientists to submit papers discussing the products and tools they are developing and their potential applications. Papers discussing current gaps or challenges related to the adoption of remote sensing technologies are also welcome.

We hope to include work from a diverse range of authors, including researchers and students from various academic fields as well as policy makers, forestry and conservation practitioners, citizen scientists, and others. In additional to original research articles, Forest and Society also seeks short articles (1,500-3,000 words) for our other submission categories: Policy Forum, Notes from the Field, and Methodological Engagement. For Policy Forum pieces, we invite authors, including researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers, to discuss issues at the intersection of remote sensing and policy. Articles discussing how remote sensing data could be used to inform policy agendas and/or facilitate enforcement of existing policies could be appropriate for this submission type. Notes from the Field aims to collect submissions from researchers and practitioners interested in sharing their fieldwork experiences. We invite submissions discussing how authors use remote sensing data in the field, as well as challenges in adopting remote sensing technologies or gaps in the types of tools currently available. The Methodological Engagement format provides authors the opportunity to discuss new and creative research approaches. This could include articles discussing new advances in remote sensing technology, opportunities for mixed methods research that integrates remote sensing with other research techniques, or articles discussing the limitations of remote sensing as a research tool.

  • Diana Parker
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Special Section on community-based conservation in the Wallacea region

We seek entries on a broad set of topics connected to the theme of community-based conservation in the Wallacea region. We invite research engagement on the following question: What are the practices, opportunities, and challenges for community‐based conservation in Wallacea? This line of inquiry also opens up the opportunities for entries from a broad range of backgrounds and traditions, including conservationists, social and natural scientists, policy-makers, indigenous people and activists, resource management professionals, and other practitioners. On a level of praxis, we are especially eager to provide greater insight into the notion that on the one hand community‐based conservation has experienced increasing outside investment, but on the other, there is greater concern that community‐based conservation is not working. Is, as Berkes (2004) has noted, the emphasis on community and participation diluting the conservation agenda, and if so in what ways? Can conservation be a concept that can be separated from people, lives, and livelihoods? How do we continue to the think about people and conservation as a broad set of policies and objectives?

In this light, we are especially eager to invite a greater number of non-traditional researchers into this research effort. We have therefore expanded the volume to include opportunities to submit short insight pieces to accommodate the increasing attention on the notion of science co-production (Beier et al., 2017). The broad categories for such submissions include: Policy Forum, Field Notes, and Methodological Engagement. We envision, for example: i) Policy-makers could present papers on the latest developments on current policies enabling community-based conservation; ii) Activists and local communities could submit oral histories and other innovative approaches on, for example, emphasizing local species naming systems that highlight conservation practices; iii) NGOs and other practitioners could submit innovations on community participation and multi-stakeholder approaches; iv) Natural scientists could submit a list of species and other data accounting systems with local partnerships. These are just a few among numerous possibilities for contributions.


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Special Section: The economies, ecologies and politics of social forestry in Indonesia

Forest and Society is initiating the first of its series on emerging trends of social forestry across Southeast Asia by examining dynamics taking place in Indonesia. The primary aim is to take stock of evidence on the rapid implementation of social forestry permits across Indonesia and to promote knowledge on the realities, achievements, challenges and pathways to sustainable strategies for the future. We invite authors from academics, researchers, students, concerned citizens, policy makers and forestry practitioners to contribute original research, on a range of methods (quantitative, qualitative, and mixed), to improve our collective understanding of social forestry in Indonesia. We invite paper submissions on politics, ecology, economy and culture. We also welcome research approaches at various scales, including review articles that take on a macro perspective or rich contextual studies of site-specific experiences, as well as comparative approaches across sites.

  • Ahmad Dhiaulhaq
  • Micah Fisher
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Special Section: Land, society, and disaster

This special section examines the interactions between changing dynamics of land across Southeast Asia and its most debilitating effects: disaster.

  • Micah Fisher
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Special Section: Agrarian transformation in Thailand - commodities, landscapes, and livelihoods

      Over the last two decades, there have been extensive discussions about the priorities and processes of agrarian and rural transformation in Thailand. The production and value systems surrounding agricultural transformation involves the overall restructuring of a subsistence-oriented economy to a market-oriented one. Agricultural households are increasingly prioritizing and becoming more dependent on intensive and specialized production of cash crops. Rural livelihoods are also relying more on off-farm income generated by local urban centers or remittances sent back from migrant workers. Although outmigration and the remittance economy has supported rural households, there are also other consequences, most evident in the scarcity and changing labor practices in agricultural sectors. This transformation is affecting rural society in perplexing ways, such as the decline in poverty rates, the increasing levels of economic differentiation, improving access to education, and the perceived withering of community solidarity. These trends of agrarian transformation reflexively interact with broader developments in Thai society, related to an increasing population, processes of urbanization, public policy interventions, natural resources limitations, and changing societal values.

      This special section attempts to provide a picture of the processes of transformation over time and examine the current conjunctures taking place across rural communities in Thailand. Our entry point is through the lens of agricultural commodities. We believe that explaining the multiple sources and effects of certain commodities in particular locations in Thailand provides distinct explanatory potential. For example, rubber, a crop originally grown in the South of Thailand has been widely introduced in the northeast region for the past 30 years, affecting local community dynamics, creating new projects, changing cultivation practices, and initiating new ways of interacting with the state and international markets. Another example is rice, an important staple crop for rural households, grown widespread across the country. Rice farmers have been directly affected by agricultural policies from various government policies in the last two decades. Currently, vast stretches of paddy fields are being converted to other cash crops. Farmers are facing new choices to choose a staple, plant cash crops, and migrate seasonally to find work in other business sectors. Other examples include agricultural commodities geared to supporting a vision of tourism, illicit agricultural production of poppies in upland and border areas, and a multitude of others. Agrarian transformation provides perplexing, contradictory, and paradoxical effects, which can at once empower and dispossess. We are open to any papers that examine agrarian transformation through the lens of longstanding or newly introduced (or lack thereof) commodities that allows for a better understanding of change taking place across Thai rural society. 

  • Sukanlaya Choenkwan
  • Micah Fisher
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Peer Review Process

Editor in Chief will assign the manuscript to a corresponding Editor or Managing Editor for further handling. The Editor or Managing Editor will request at least two scientists to review the research article manuscript. All manuscripts are subject to single-blind peer review whose reviewers' identities will remain anonymous to the authors and are expected to meet standards of academic excellence. Reviewers are aware of the identity of the authors, but authors are unaware of the identity of reviewers. 

Detailed information about the flow for the manuscript submission (author) to the acceptance by the editor is shown in the following figure.


In short, the steps are:

  1. Manuscript Submission (by author) (route 1)
  2. Manuscript Check and Selection (by manager and editors) (route 2). Editors have a right to directly accept, reject, or review. Prior to further processing steps, plagiarism check using turtitin is applied for each manuscript.
  3. Manuscript Reviewing Process (by reviewers) (route 3-4)
  4. Notification of Manuscript Acceptance, Revision, or Rejection (by editor to author based on reviewers comments) (route 5)
  5. Paper Revision (by author)
  6. Revision Submission based on Reviewer Suggestion (by author) with similar flow to point number 1. (route 1)
  7. If reviewer seems to be satisfied with revision, notification for acceptance (by editor). (route 6)
  8. Galley proof and publishing process  (route 7 and 8)

The steps point number 1 to 5 is considered as 1 round of peer-reviewing process (see grey area in the figure). The editor or editorial board considers the feedback provided by the peer reviewers and arrives at a decision. The following are the most common decisions:

  • accept without any changes (acceptance): the journal will publish the paper in its original form
  • accept with minor revisions (acceptance): the journal will publish the paper and asks the author to make small corrections
  • accept after major revisions (conditional acceptance ): the journal will publish the paper provided the authors make the changes suggested by the reviewers and/or editors
  • revise and resubmit (conditional rejection): the journal is willing to reconsider the paper in another round of decision making after the authors make major changes
  • reject the paper (outright rejection): the journal will not publish the paper or reconsider it even if the authors make major revisions


Publication Frequency

Forest and Society categorized the research field for open access journals to be published bi-yearly, in April and November. Forest and Society is also possible to published special issue and special section. A special issue and special section enables us to publish papers focusing on specific themes, often related to a “hot topic” 


Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. 

All contents is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author. This is in accordance with the BOAI definition of open access.



This journal utilizes the Indonesia GARUDA: Garba Rujukan Digital system to create a distributed archiving system among participating libraries and permits those libraries to create permanent archives of the journal for purposes of preservation and restoration. We also utilize Neliti repository. Neliti is Indonesia's research repository that digitally preserves a full copy of the content of this journal. Neliti address the need for a single repository that collects together important Indonesian research that was previously scattered around the web and difficult to find

This journal utilizes the LOCKSS system to create a distributed archiving system among participating libraries and permits those libraries to create permanent archives of the journal for purposes of preservation and restoration. More...



Forest and Society have a policy of screening for plagiarism. We use Anti-Plagiarism Software Turnitin to check the authenticity article


Guest Editor tasks and responsibilities

  1. Assist in the development and approval of a Call for Papers for the Special Issue/Section

  2. Circulate and promote the Call for Papers for the Special Issue/Section through your personal networks, social media groups, and at relevant conferences or workshops

  3. Encourage the submission of relevant, high-quality manuscripts that address the central themes of the Special Issue

  4. Assist in reviewing and selecting the most appropriate submissions for review - papers that fit within the scope and quality expectations of the Special Issue/Section.

  5. Work with the Editors to identify appropriate reviewers for each of the selected papers; monitor and support the review process 

  6. Work with the Editors to evaluate reviewers' comments and ensure that the comments are adequately addressed by authors before final approval of submitted manuscripts

  7. Develop an introduction to the Special Issue/Section that summarizes the key themes and major insights of the selected manuscripts

  8. Circulate and promote the Special Issue once it is published. This may include citing the individual papers, sharing the Special IssueIssue/Section with colleagues and practitioners, developing training and instructional materials, etc.

  9. Assist in organizing and leading follow up meetings and conferences to promote the Special Issue/Section and seek program and policy applications 

All of the above will require regular communication via email and/or conference call. We expect all Guest Editors to participate actively and regularly in these discussions, and to respond in a timely manner to all email communications.


Publication and Author Rights

By submitting the manuscript, authors give up all publishing rights to the publisher of the Forest and Society including online (Internet) publishing rights. Parts of the journal’s content, such as figures and tables, may be reproduced without prior permission, provided reference is made to their source.