World Forests


As forests stay high on the global political agenda, and forest-related industries diversify, cutting edge research into the issues facing forests has become more and more transdisciplinary. With this is mind, Springer’s World Forests series has been established to provide a key forum for research-based syntheses of globally relevant issues on the interrelations between forests, society and the environment. The series is intended for a wide range of readers including national and international entities concerned with forest, environmental and related policy issues; advanced students and researchers; business professionals, non-governmental organizations and the environmental and economic media. Volumes published in the series will include both multidisciplinary studies with a broad range of coverage, as well as more focused in-depth analyses of a particular issue in the forest and related sectors. Themes range from globalization processes and international policies to comparative analyses of regions and countries. In Memoriam Prof. Dr. Matti Palo Prof. Dr. Matti Palo, co-editor of the World Forests book series, passed away on February 14, 2014. Matti got his first position as a researcher in 1963 at the Finnish Forest Research Institute Metla. In 2003 he retired from Metla, where he had held the position of Professorship in Forest Economics since 1985. His international links were strong throughout his career. In 1976-79 he served as the Professor of Forest Economics in the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University KVL, Copenhagen, Denmark. During 2003-04 he was as a visiting Professor of Environmental Policy in Seoul National University, Republic of Korea. He was also an adjunct professor at the University of Eastern Finland, and a lecturer at the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center CATIE in Costa Rica. From early on Matti was interested in the question of the roles of forests and forestry in economic development. This also led him to look at the problem of deforestation. Matti was one of the pioneers in investigating the causal relationships behind deforestation. When he started to work on this theme in the early 1980s, there was very little research on it. By now we know that the number of published articles dealing with deforestation has exploded in recent years and decades. Through the rest of his career Matti held on to his interest on seeking for the economic, social and environmental factors explaining deforestation in the tropics. In his research he tested for and found some evidence of factors related to trade, corruption and environmental conditions as having causal power behind deforestation. On a controversial side, he sometimes openly criticized FAO for its allegedly too optimistic views and statements on the extent of deforestation in the developing world. In the early 1990s Matti got interested in the process of globalization and its relation with the use and management of natural resources. He approached the question from a systemic angle, stressing the importance of the convoluted causal relationships between free capital transfers, investments, media technology and the role of international environmental organizations. In his later years, Matti’s interest focused more on the issue of landownership and its links with forest degradation and deforestation. In one of his books, he argues strongly about the negative impacts of public ownership of land on economic development. He used the term socialistic forestry to refer to conditions where state governments have a pronounced role in land ownership leading to conditions susceptible to corruption. As a researcher Matti also actively worked at the interface of research and politics. He was an active commentator on how policies should be implemented in the natural resource sector. Indeed, his influence was important for example when Finland renewed its forestry legislation in the 1990s. Jussi Uusivuori