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Special Issue "Governing Forest Landscapes: Challenges and Ways Forward"

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A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2014)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Pablo Pacheco

CIFOR, Jalan CIFOR, Situ Gede, Bogor Barat 16115, Indonesia
Interests: land and forest governance; landscape and agrarian change; rural development
Guest Editor
Dr. George Schoneveld

Center for International Forestry Research, Kenya United Nations Avenue, Gigiri, Kenya
Interests: political economy; global commodity markets; customary property regimes
Guest Editor
Dr. Andrew Wardell

Center for International Forestry Research, Indonesia Jalan CIFOR, Situ Gede, Bogor Barat 16115, Indonesia
Interests: multi-level governance of land and forests; environmental history; decentralization and globalization of NTFPs

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Forest governance is concerned with the management and regulation of a complex interplay of social, political, and economic issues that shape the ways in which societies, and specific societal groups, use, allocate and distribute land and forest resources so as to harness forests’ potential to provide important  goods and ecosystem services. The discussion on forest governance has expanded gradually over time to embrace both different disciplinary perspectives and multiple scales reflecting the growing complexity of the institutional architecture associated with governing access to, and use of land and forests.

At the local level, research on forest governance concerns the analysis of the socio-institutional and economic factors that shape how land and forests are used by different economic actors, such as, for example, smallholders, forest-dependent communities, and agribusiness. At the sub-national level, the focus lies on the political-economic context and institutional arrangements that affect land use change and forest conversion dynamics, as part of broader processes of agrarian change and landscape transformation. At the national level, the primary emphasis is on the policy and legal frameworks that influence market dynamics and broader social behavior in relation to forest conservation or economic land development. Finally, at the global level, the influence of international trade and finance regimes and markets in driving large-scale investments has become an important new area of inquiry. This relates particularly to the potentials, and limitations of emerging market-driven mechanisms such as corporate accountabilities (e.g. standards and certification systems) and socio-economic partnerships (e.g. fair trade) to enhance the sustainability of global commodity supply chains, as well as the likely growing influence of multilateral agreements. Increasingly, researchers are attempting to bridge these different scales by evaluating how processes and practices at one scale influence other levels of governance.

The analytical lenses through which interactions between the different dimensions and scales shaping land and forest governance, their social and ecological impacts, and potential ways to manage the trade-offs are diverse. There is growing recognition of the need to adopt more integrated approaches in exploring the interactions between different economic sectors, actors, and institutions across scales. Three dominant perspectives appear to be emerging. The first relates to the resurgence of landscape approaches as a way to understand the socio-economic and politico-environmental interactions that shape natural resource management in specific places. The second stresses the importance of assessing the potential for improving sustainability and governance of commodity supply chains in tropical forests and agricultural landscapes. The third highlights the importance of the private sector, where large investments in specific commodities such as palm oil and soy are occurring, in adopting sustainability initiatives, as a key element in fostering a transition towards more sustainable investment and production. The importance of linking these three perspectives is becoming increasingly evident, from both theoretical and policy angles, as a means to developing more innovative multi-level governance arrangements.

This special issue privileges papers that, from different theoretical and disciplinary perspectives, and across multiple scales, look at the issues of policy approaches, sustainable commodity supply chains, and corporate sustainability initiatives, in order to identify the key legal, regulatory and institutional challenges associated with equitable and sustainable forest landscape governance and ways forward.

Dr. Pablo Pacheco
Dr. George Schoneveld
Dr. Andrew Wardell
Guest Editors

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Keywords

  • forests governance
  • multi-level governance
  • sustainable landscapes
  • corporate sustainability

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Multi-level Governance of Land Use Changes in the Brazilian Amazon: Lessons from Paragominas, State of Pará
Forests 2015, 6(5), 1516-1536; doi:10.3390/f6051516
Received: 19 March 2015 / Revised: 19 April 2015 / Accepted: 22 April 2015 / Published: 30 April 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (6374 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Land use governance in the Brazilian Amazon has undergone significant changes in the last decade. At the national level, law enforcement capacity has increased and downstream industries linked to commodity chains responsible for deforestation have begun to monitor some of their suppliers’ [...] Read more.
Land use governance in the Brazilian Amazon has undergone significant changes in the last decade. At the national level, law enforcement capacity has increased and downstream industries linked to commodity chains responsible for deforestation have begun to monitor some of their suppliers’ impacts on forests. At the municipal level, local actors have launched a Green Municipality initiative, aimed at eliminating deforestation and supporting green supply chains at the territorial level. In this paper, we analyze the land use transition since 2001 in Paragominas—the first Green Municipality—and discuss the limits of the governance arrangements underpinning these changes. Our work draws on a spatially explicit analysis of biophysical variables and qualitative information collected in interviews with key private and public stakeholders of the main commodity chains operating in the region. We argue that, up to now, the emerging multi-level scheme of land governance has not succeeded in promoting large-scale land use intensification, reforestation and rehabilitation of degraded lands. Moreover, private governance mechanisms based on improved product standards, fail to benefit from potential successful partnerships between the public and private sector at the territorial level. We propose a governance approach that adopts a broader territorial focus as a way forward. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Governing Forest Landscapes: Challenges and Ways Forward)
Open AccessArticle Deciphering Corporate Governance and Environmental Commitments among Southeast Asian Transnationals: Uptake of Sustainability Certification
Forests 2015, 6(5), 1454-1475; doi:10.3390/f6051454
Received: 23 October 2014 / Revised: 5 April 2015 / Accepted: 9 April 2015 / Published: 29 April 2015
PDF Full-text (441 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Promoting tropical forest sustainability among corporate players is a major challenge. Many tools have been developed, but without much success. Southeast Asia has become a laboratory of globalization processes, where the development and success of agribusiness transnationals raises questions about their commitment [...] Read more.
Promoting tropical forest sustainability among corporate players is a major challenge. Many tools have been developed, but without much success. Southeast Asia has become a laboratory of globalization processes, where the development and success of agribusiness transnationals raises questions about their commitment to environmental concerns. An abundance of literature discusses what determines the behavior of Asian corporations, with a particular emphasis on cultural factors. Our hypothesis is that financial factors, such as ownership structure, may also have a fundamental role. We analyzed the audited accounts of four major Asian agribusiness transnationals. Using network analysis, we deciphered how the 931 companies relate to each other and determine the behavior of the transnationals to which they belong. We compared various metrics with the environmental commitment of these transnationals. We found that ownership structures reflect differences in flexibility, control and transaction costs, but not in ethnicities. Capital and its control, ownership structure, and flexibility explain 97% of the environmental behavior. It means that existing market-based tools to promote environmental sustainability do not engage transnationals at the scale where most of their behavior is determined. For the first time, the inner mechanisms of corporate governance are unraveled in agricultural and forest sustainability. New implications such as the convergence of environmental sustainability with family business sustainability emerged. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Governing Forest Landscapes: Challenges and Ways Forward)
Open AccessArticle From Public to Private Standards for Tropical Commodities: A Century of Global Discourse on Land Governance on the Forest Frontier
Forests 2015, 6(4), 1301-1324; doi:10.3390/f6041301
Received: 11 September 2014 / Revised: 11 September 2014 / Accepted: 1 April 2015 / Published: 21 April 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (561 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Globalization and commodity exports have a long history in affecting land use changes and land rights on the tropical forest frontier. This paper reviews a century of social and environmental discourse around land issues for four commodities grown in the humid tropics—rubber, [...] Read more.
Globalization and commodity exports have a long history in affecting land use changes and land rights on the tropical forest frontier. This paper reviews a century of social and environmental discourse around land issues for four commodities grown in the humid tropics—rubber, cocoa, oil palm and bananas. States have exercised sovereign rights over land and forest resources and the outcomes for deforestation and land rights of existing users have been quite varied depending on local institutional contexts and political economy. In the current period of globalization, as land use changes associated with tropical commodities have accelerated, land issues are now at center stage in the global discourse. However, efforts to protect forests and the rights of local communities and indigenous groups continue to be ad hoc and codification of minimum standards and their implementation remains a work in progress. Given a widespread failure of state directed policies and institutions to curb deforestation and protect land rights, the private sector, with the exception of the rubber industry, is emphasizing voluntary standards to certify sustainability of their products. This is an important step but expectations that they will effectively address concerns about the impact of tropical commodities expansion might be too high, given their voluntary nature, demand constraints, and the challenge of including smallholders. It is also doubtful that private standards can more than partially compensate for long standing weaknesses in land governance and institutions on the forest frontier. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Governing Forest Landscapes: Challenges and Ways Forward)
Open AccessArticle Tenure Security and Land Appropriation under Changing Environmental Governance in Lowland Bolivia and Pará
Forests 2015, 6(2), 464-491; doi:10.3390/f6020464
Received: 21 September 2014 / Revised: 13 January 2015 / Accepted: 11 February 2015 / Published: 16 February 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (339 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Appropriation of public lands associated with agricultural frontier expansion is a longstanding occurrence in the Amazon that has resulted in a highly skewed land-tenure structure in spite of recent state efforts to recognize tenure rights of indigenous people and smallholders living in [...] Read more.
Appropriation of public lands associated with agricultural frontier expansion is a longstanding occurrence in the Amazon that has resulted in a highly skewed land-tenure structure in spite of recent state efforts to recognize tenure rights of indigenous people and smallholders living in or nearby forests. Growing concerns to reduce environmental impacts from agricultural development have motivated state governments to place greater attention on sustainable land management and forest conservation. This paper assesses the political and institutional conditions shaping tenure security and land appropriation in lowland Bolivia and the State of Pará in Brazil, and their links with environmental governance. The two cases show that clarifying and securing tenure rights is considered as the cornerstone for improving environmental governance. Thus, much attention has been given to the recognition of indigenous people and smallholder rights and to legalization of large-scale estates in agricultural frontiers, which have in turn influenced emerging conservation and environmental governance approaches. While policy frameworks share similar goals in the two cases, contrasting implementation approaches have been adopted: more agrarian in lowland Bolivia and more conservationist in the State of Pará. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Governing Forest Landscapes: Challenges and Ways Forward)
Open AccessArticle The Challenge of Governing Africa’s New Agricultural Investment Landscapes: An Analysis of Policy Arrangements and Sustainability Outcomes in Ethiopia and Nigeria
Forests 2015, 6(1), 88-115; doi:10.3390/f6010088
Received: 16 October 2014 / Accepted: 23 December 2014 / Published: 30 December 2014
PDF Full-text (2149 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the context of globalization, market liberalization, and deregulation, many African governments are embracing the potential of private agricultural investment to address structural issues within their agricultural economies. Sustainably integrating these investments into target landscapes, however, poses a number of governance challenges [...] Read more.
In the context of globalization, market liberalization, and deregulation, many African governments are embracing the potential of private agricultural investment to address structural issues within their agricultural economies. Sustainably integrating these investments into target landscapes, however, poses a number of governance challenges since it requires careful reconciliation of competing needs, priorities, and land uses. This paper examines the effectiveness of existing policy arrangements in managing these conflicts within two environmentally significant investment landscapes, the Oban-Korup Forest Block, Nigeria, and Lower Baro-Akobo River Basin, Ethiopia. Findings reveal that investments tend to conflict with socially and environmentally valuable land uses, largely as a result of institutional failings. The paper identifies a number of underlying institutional challenges that need to be addressed in order to achieve sustainable development objectives within Africa’s many emerging investment landscapes. Findings have relevance for the development of sustainable landscape governance systems and the alignment of global governance innovations with landscape-level policy arrangements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Governing Forest Landscapes: Challenges and Ways Forward)
Open AccessArticle Multilevel Governance for Forests and Climate Change: Learning from Southern Mexico
Forests 2014, 5(12), 3147-3168; doi:10.3390/f5123147
Received: 12 August 2014 / Revised: 1 December 2014 / Accepted: 5 December 2014 / Published: 12 December 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1540 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) involves global and national policy measures as well as effective action at the landscape scale across productive sectors. Multilevel governance (MLG) characterizes policy processes and regimes of cross-scale and cross-sector participation by multiple public [...] Read more.
Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) involves global and national policy measures as well as effective action at the landscape scale across productive sectors. Multilevel governance (MLG) characterizes policy processes and regimes of cross-scale and cross-sector participation by multiple public and private actors for improved legitimacy and effectiveness of policy. We examine multilevel, multi-actor engagement in REDD+ planning in Quintana Roo, Mexico, to find out how local perspectives align with the national policy approach to REDD+ as an integrating element of holistic rural development at territorial scale, and how current practices support procedurally legitimate MLG required to implement it. We find that there is wide conceptual agreement on the proposed approach by a variety of involved actors, in rejection of the business-as-usual sectoral interventions. Its implementation, however, is challenged by gaps in horizontal and vertical integration due to strong sectoral identities and hierarchies, and de facto centralization of power at the federal level. Continued participation of multiple government and civil society actors to contribute to social learning for locally appropriate REDD+ actions is likely to require a more balanced distribution of resources and influence across levels. Meaningfully engaging and ensuring the representation of local community interests in the process remains a critical challenge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Governing Forest Landscapes: Challenges and Ways Forward)
Open AccessArticle From Co-Management to Landscape Governance: Whither Ghana’s Modified Taungya System?
Forests 2014, 5(12), 2996-3021; doi:10.3390/f5122996
Received: 28 October 2014 / Revised: 14 November 2014 / Accepted: 27 November 2014 / Published: 4 December 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (352 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Natural resource management literature has documented three paradigm shifts over the past decade: from co-management to adaptive co-management and adaptive governance respectively and, more recently, towards landscape governance. The latter is conceived as a governance approach towards negotiated land use at the [...] Read more.
Natural resource management literature has documented three paradigm shifts over the past decade: from co-management to adaptive co-management and adaptive governance respectively and, more recently, towards landscape governance. The latter is conceived as a governance approach towards negotiated land use at the landscape level to deal with global challenges such as food insecurity, climate change and biodiversity loss. There is not a lot of clarity about how co-management systems could actually evolve into landscape governance. This paper aims to address the gap by exploring how a stalled co-management system for the reforestation of degraded forest areas—the modified taungya system (MTS) in Ghana—could be revitalised and redesigned as a landscape approach. Drawing on case studies and expert consultation, the performance of the national MTS and the MTS under the Community Forestry Management Project is reviewed with regard to five principles (integrated approach, multi-stakeholder negotiation, polycentric governance, continual learning and adaptive capacity) and three enabling conditions (social capital, bridging organisations and long-term funding) distilled from the literature. The authors conclude that some of these principles and conditions were met under the Community Forestry Management Project, but that continual learning, transcending jurisdictional boundaries, developing adaptive capacity, and long-term funding and benefits still pose challenges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Governing Forest Landscapes: Challenges and Ways Forward)
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