Forest governance in a changing world: reconciling local and global values

Sayer, Jeff, and Collins, Mark (2012) Forest governance in a changing world: reconciling local and global values. The Round Table, 101 (2). pp. 137-146.

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There has been intense international debate on the governance of forests, in particular tropical forests. This has been driven by contrasting pressures from conservation and human rights groups, respectively calling for global values to prevail so as to protect biodiversity and reduce climate change, or for freedom of choice that empowers local people with the right to manage their own forests. Both sides have condemned irresponsible behaviour by forest officials and political actors, and highlighted the harmful impacts of disregard for the law. However, these normative approaches to forest governance have coincided with a fundamental re-examination of the objectives that societies have for their forest resources. The debate is not only about legality, but also about the legitimacy of forest laws and institutions. This review explores the divergence of views on long-term goals for forests and the implications for their governance. It emphasises that the real challenge is to reconcile the management of forests for values that accrue at different spatial and temporal scales. Forest governance needs to adapt, moving away from a framework based upon the neatly defined boundaries beloved of international organisations and treaties, and submitting to a constant process of adaptation and improvisation at a more local scale. The challenge is to find ways to aggregate such approaches into something that recognisably addresses the global values of forests and forest landscapes. Commonwealth countries have a wide range of forest conditions and are innovating with a range of governance options that provide lessons of potentially wide application.

Item ID: 23876
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0035-8533
Keywords: adaptive management, civilisation, ecosystem, forest, governance, human rights, human society, landscape, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, natural justice
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2012 01:16
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 50%
14 ECONOMICS > 1499 Other Economics > 149902 Ecological Economics @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 100%
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