Global Forest Governance: Multiple Practices of Policy Performance

  • Bas Arts
  • Innocent Babili
Part of the World Forests book series (WFSE, volume 14)


According to various observers, global forest governance has largely failed. Deforestation is continuing and there is no legally binding international treaty on forests. Although these observations seem truisms, another reading of the performance of global forest governance is possible, as this chapter shows, via two lines of reasoning. Firstly, the deforestation narrative is replaced by one on country-specific forest dynamics, since forest transitions—shifts from forest loss to forest expansion—are taking place in several countries around the world. Secondly, the role of global ideas, norms and rules in national policies and local practices is analysed. Two case studies, one on participatory forest management and one on forest certification, both from Tanzania, are presented. It is shown that voluntary ideas, norms and rules on participation and certification travel from the global to the local—through policy makers, donors, NGOs, companies, etc.—and together shape the management of forests in specific sites. It is also shown that this global–local nexus can yield positive results for both forests and people. This chapter builds upon discursive institutionalism and practice theory.


Global forest governance Policy performance  Discursive institutionalism Practice theory 



The authors would like to thank Jelle Behagel, Lukas Giessen, Laurent Umans and Freerk Wiersum for their very valuable comments and suggestions on reading the first version of this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Forest and Nature Conservation Policy GroupWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Institute of Continuing Education, Sokoine University of AgricultureMorogoroTanzania

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