How do Forest Markets Work? Exploring a Practice Perspective

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


Over recent decades, it has become highly popular to use markets in governance processes. Enthusiasm for market-oriented approaches has become so overwhelming that in some areas of policy, including forest conservation, governments are even promoting new markets. However, doubts exist about how sustainable this mechanism for conservation is. To analyse and evaluate forest markets, it should first of all be clear what a market is. Despite claims to the contrary, the market concept has hardly ever been analysed in depth and only from a monodisciplinary view. Against this background, this paper addresses the question of what a market is and how it comes about. It begins by reviewing the different conceptualisations of markets in different disciplines and how they are used in forest market research. Then, a revised conceptualisation of markets is presented, by introducing a practice based approach. During the past 20 years, practice based approaches have attracted growing interest within the social sciences. Recently they have also been introduced in the study of markets, as they seem to offer a richer conceptual tool, and therefore a better understanding of the market, than other approaches. Using the example of the certified timber market, it is explored how a practice perspective can be used to analyse forestry markets.


Forest governance Markets Practices Forest certification 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Forest and Nature Conservation Policy GroupWageningenThe Netherlands

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