Call for Papers | “Nature Sports” | Special issue of Annals of Leisure Research. Call ends May 31, 2017

This special issue seeks to explore, encourage discussion, and contribute to the study of nature sports as a global phenomenon. Nature sports comprise a group of sporting activities that are developed and experienced in natural or rural areas. They are performed in different natural contexts including air (paragliding and hang-gliding, etc.), land (MTB, rock-climbing, trekking, etc.) and water (kayaking, sailing, surfing, windsurfing, etc.). These activities range from formal to informal practices and may contribute to sustainable local development (Melo & Gomes, 2017).

Nature sports are one the fastest growing sports segments and have become a significant focus of the leisure and tourism industries around the world. In spite of such socio-cultural and economic significance, these activities have been largely neglected from the literature and some problems have emerged concerning studies involving these activities. One of the first problems is related with terminology and definition. This is due, in part, because there are a plethora of distinct terms with a range of theoretical assumptions describing these practices (e.g., adventure sports, outdoor recreation). Some works have been conducted attempting to clarify these terminological and conceptual problems but no consensus has been obtained. Currently there is no term universally accepted to refer to sports activities taking place in natural areas. There is therefore a gap in the literature and a need to define the epistemological boundaries of this scholarly area of inquiry.

The special issue seeks contributions addressing the environmental, economic and socio-cultural dimensions of nature sports. Paper submissions may cover a broad range of topics and perspectives. Contributions may include scholarly and empirical research from a comparative perspective. We seek an international collection of scholars and researchers for a global audience. Appropriate topics for this special issue include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • Nature sports, leisure, work and lifestyle;
    • Nature sports trends, policies and development;
    • Nature sports environmental, economic and social impacts;
    • Nature sports experience, space, place and identity;
    • Nature sports management;
    • Nature sports, innovation, competitiveness and globalization;
    • Psychological aspects about nature sports.


Melo, R., & Gomes, R. (2017). A Sociocultural Approach to Understanding the Development of  Nature Sports. In R. Melo & C. Sobry (Coords.)(2017), Sport Tourism: New Challenges in a Globalized World (pp. 47-76). Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.


Expression of interest

Please send proposed paper title, name of author/s and an abstract of no more than 300 words to the guest editor, Ricardo Melo ( by 31st May 2017.

Time line

1st March 2017– Opening of the call for papers
31st May 2017 – Expression of interest
30th June 2017 – Answer about status of work
31st October 2017 – Submission of full papers by authors
31st January 2018 – Delivery of reviewers comments by editors
28th February 2018 – Submission of papers with revisions by authors
Mid- 2019 – Publication of the special issue on nature sports

Guest editors

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