Global forest governance: Multiple practices of policy performance

Arts, B.J.M.; Babili, I.H.


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.