Scientists urge tact in crafting forest governance systems

Forest governance often means addressing the inconsistencies of land, tree and resource management, a process that can be complicated by interactions among governments, the private sector and civil society, according to scientists.

“Standards can be one approach to improve governance, but in many cases, they remain international voluntary standards without compliance requirements — we know from experience that they’re often circumvented,” said Andrew Wardell, research director of the forests and governance portfolio with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Policymakers are developing the framework to ensure that forest conservation efforts do not adversely affect local communities entitled to receive aid incentives from developed countries for proving they have reduced carbon emissions.

Strategies for success

A current interest in verifying the legal provenance of timber and weeding out illegally harvested products is putting governments back at the center of forest governance, Cashore said.

The European Union’s new Voluntary Partnership Agreements, which allow timber shipments only from countries that verify that their exports conform to their own national laws is an example of a voluntary standard turned into a legal basis, Wardell said — adding that it is too early to say whether it is a success.

Source: Thomas Hubert | CIFOR