There are several perspectives on how forests should be managed and used. Research findings can be used as a rationale for the perspective. However, if only research that supports a certain viewpoint is used, the overall picture of what is known remains incomplete. Thus, decision-making is based on opinions and traditions instead of all available evidence about the effects and effectiveness of different management interventions.
The Evidence-Based Forestry in Finland (EBFF) project aims to create a basis for evidence-based decision-making. In the EBFF project the best available scientific evidence will be collated and synthesised for the use of Finnish forestry stakeholders to support decision-making in questions related to sustainability of the forestry sector. To minimize bias and to ensure highest possible standards, systematic reviews and maps will be used to conduct the evidence syntheses.
Evidence needs and review teams
The first research questions in the EBFF project respond to the evidence needs of the Finnish forest industry. They aim to collate the evidence on what is known about different management interventions and their effectiveness in order to advance sustainability of the forestry sector. Independent research teams will undertake the evidence syntheses. If you are interested in participating in the evidence synthesis, please contact Sini Savilaakso.
Planning the evidence synthesis
Each of the systematic reviews and maps starts the same way. A research team writes a preliminary review protocol that outlines how the review will be conducted at each stage following the guidelines of the Collabaration for Environmental Evidence (CEE). The protocol includes potential information sources; identifies key elements of the research question, often referred to as PICO or PECO (Population, Intervention/Exposure, Comparator, Outcome) elements; proposes search terms based on the PICOs and outlines the criteria against which studies will be screened for inclusion into the review. Once preliminary protocol is completed, a stakeholder meeting will be held to discuss the protocol and to propose any changes to it. After stakeholder meeting, the research team will finalise the protocol. The final protocol will be available for commenting and will be peer reviewed before work progresses to the next stage.
Conducting the review
The research team will conduct the systematic review based on the reviewed and accepted protocol following the CEE guidelines. The research team will conduct a systematic search for studies from both academic and non-academic sources of literature. Studies retrieved from the search will be screened for relevance to the review question using the inclusion criteria outlined in the review protocol.
After the critical appraisal, data will be extracted from the included studies and synthesised to form an overall view of the evidence. Synthesis can be narrative, quantitative or qualitative or a combination of these. The final review will be peer reviewed and, if accepted, published. After the review is published, the information will be actively disseminated to stakeholders and other interested parties.