The article “Rural bioeconomies in Europe: Socio-ecological conflicts, marginalized people and practices” was written by flumen-researchers Jana Holz, Philip Koch, Lilian Pungas and Dennis Eversberg in collaboration with the scientists Jonathan Friedrich and Jana Zscheischler from the ZALF (Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research) and published in GAIA. GAIA is a transdisciplinary journal that publishes on ecological perspectives for science and society.
Bioeconomy policies claim to contribute to socio-ecological transformations and decreasing rural-urban inequalities. Based on examples of four bioeconomies in rural Europe, we argue that contrary to these claims, such policies to date have not de-escalated existing social conflicts but instead have often further contributed to polarization tendencies. To live up to those proclaimed goals, bioeconomy research and policy need to deprioritize economic growth and turn to more comprehensive considerations of socio-ecological contexts and the integration of the local population and alternative practices.