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Global Forest Governance: Multiple Practices of Policy Performance

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Forest and Nature Governance

Part of the book series: World Forests ((WFSE,volume 14))

Abstract

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.

Many people have come to the conclusion that the international forest policy process has reached an impasse (…) After taking stock of the abundance of international agreements, processes and initiatives that are of consequence to forest-related issues, we would argue this is not the case—there is a large amount of interest and political will in addressing forests at the international level.

McDermott et al. 2007, p. 119

Success and failure do not exist ‘in nature’, independent of the observer, but are constituted in social interaction among a wide variety of actors (…). This raises the question of why some policies and projects are regarded as a success/failure and with which consequences.

Van Assche et al. 2011, p. 1

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Notes

  1. 1.

    http://www.un.org/esa/forests/index.html.

  2. 2.

    http://www.fsc.org/77.html; http://www.pefc.org/.

  3. 3.

    http://www.fsc.org/77.html.

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Acknowledgments

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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Correspondence to Bas Arts .

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Arts, B., Babili, I. (2012). Global Forest Governance: Multiple Practices of Policy Performance . In: Arts, B., Behagel, J., van Bommel, S., de Koning, J., Turnhout, E. (eds) Forest and Nature Governance. World Forests, vol 14. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-5113-2_6

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