New Perspectives on People and Forests: 9 (World Forests)

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While much of this work has proceeded in parallel, within the confines of different disciplinary debates and institutions, drawing it together suggests some strong convergences. At the same time, assessing forest cover, quality and dynamics becomes subject to far greater uncertainty.

Forest dynamics are both inherently unpredictable given the multiple sometimes chaotic influences on them, and open to multiple interpretations and values as, for instance, different local users, timber companies, ecotourists and those promoting global biodiversity conservation all have different perspectives on what a desirable forest would be like.

As she suggests, this undermines the grounds for removing resource control from local communities, while strengthening arguments for their inclusion in strategic deliberations over forest futures.

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Changing Perspectives on Forests: Science/Policy Processes | Leach

Other works have outlined further policy approaches which might flow logically from such a dynamic landscape perspective. To do so would assume an unproblematic, linear relationship between research and policy. Instead, as the second set of articles illustrates, scientific and policy processes as they relate to forest issues in Africa and the Caribbean are far more complex, and socially, politically and historically embedded.

Each traces patterns of authority and exclusion and their material effects, and discerns how specific interactions between local, national and international processes influence this. They focus on different areas of forest policy debate, ranging from biodiversity conservation and sustainable timber production, to fire and watershed management. While each treats engagements of science and policy as involving interactions of local, national and international processes, they vary in their level of focus.

The first three articles of Part II by Kojo Sebastian Amanor, James Fairhead and Melissa Leach, and Thackwray Driver address engagements between local forest users, administrations, politicians and scientists within local and national settings. They are followed by three by Ruth Malleson, Fairhead and Leach, and Sally Jeanrenaud , which cast their gaze primarily on global discourses and debates, and the ways in which these articulate with more localised processes.

He shows how powerful discourse coalitions have formed which draw researchers, administrators, NGOs and certain local leaders together around common storylines, such as the view that fire is inevitably a problem. One outcome is the extension of particular, and pervasive forms of environmental managerialism, which are in many respects damaging to local livelihoods. Playing into these struggles, with varying success, are the perspectives of artisanal timber workers and field-level forest officers, which have developed through different forms of knowledge and experience, and are linked to very different claims over territory and resources.

Yet as Malleson argues, neither side has fully acknowledged the ecological and socio-political dynamics which actually explain what is seen as failure, and which suggest that current international models of best conservation practice may be more fundamentally misconceived for West African settings.


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A range of longer-established research traditions e. In the process, the perspectives and interests of farmers and certain Guinean researchers in biodiversity as part of lived-inlandscapes have been further suppressed. Focusing on the case of the World Wide Fund for Nature WWF , Jeanrenaud suggests that there are a number of structural reasons why this remains either largely rhetorical, or unable to move beyond stereotypical images and tokenistic involvement of forest dwellers.

The article underlines that international organisations are far from homogeneous, but contain diverse communities of interest, promoting sometimes conflicting perspectives.

Background

It also draws attention to the importance of the mass-media in mediating relations between science, policy and society. Not only are forest users, and especially the poorest and least powerful among them, frequently losing access to material resources which are critical for their livelihoods, but they are frequently labelled and categorised in pejorative ways which has a far wider bearing on processes of governance and social change. Detailed, place-specific findings, he rightly argues, tend to carry little weight against the powerful, simplified narratives on which national and global policy organisations rely, and which are perpetuated in globalised media.

How might such challenges proceed?

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Given the way policy problematics and their interaction with science come to embody social values, issues of participation and inclusion of diverse perspectives need to be considered in relation to science as well as policy. This suggests the need for participatory research strategies in which poorer forest users help to set agendas and questions. These help to expose the values and assumptions behind particular social categories deployed in environmental policy-making, and to promote negotiation between diverse perspectives. This might include promoting exposition of multiple perspectives on landscape, history and forest dynamics in national media and education, helping to break down stereotypic stigmatisation.

To balance the dependence and shaping of national research and local research by international agendas and values, support for independent and critical research within national institutions is needed. To complement and assist these approaches, building better-informed and more reflexive national and international processes is important. This may, however, run counter to perspectives seeking to harmonise local and global analytics and the forms of managerialism they strive for and promote: a managerialism illustrated strongly by several of the Bulletin cases.

This subject has become something of a research fashion. Disciplines and sub-disciplines for which this has been a longstanding concern, such as political science, or history, which has long studied the policy processes of colonial and post colonial states, for example, have been joined by others, forwarding their own emphases and concepts.

Many anthropologists coming to a specific interest in policy, for instance, emphasise links between power and knowledge. Some draw on the work of Michel Foucault, who in many works traced historically how particular problems have come to be constituted as an object of certain forms of knowledge and a target of certain institutional practices, and how together this shapes social and material inequality.

His approach considers how modern science is constitutively interdependent with the evolution of practices for the surveillance, discipline, administration and formation of populations. In this vein, writers such as Ferguson and Escobar have argued that development policy discourse emanates from and reproduces the power of the state and its international sponsors. Such work is focused on the effects of policy, not its formulation, with Ferguson tracing the extension of bureaucratic intervention in rural areas, often at the expense of local resource control to development discourse.

Some have explored narratives as a feature of discourses see Biesbrouck and Jeanrenaud, infra. Simplified stories e. Such narratives are, it is argued, an integral facet of policy-making, regardless of what particular policymakers might actually understand or think about the world. Work in the sociology of science has also problematised the ways that social and political values inform the setting of scientific agendas, the way scientists work, and the ways they reach their conclusions.

One can trace at least two motivating forces within the sociology of science. The first comes from the history and philosophy of science itself, which endlessly illustrates the temporary truth claims of scientific ideas. A second set of motivations stem from the frustrations with science felt by those whose own concerns, or the concerns of those for whom they speak, are marginalised, misconstrued, delegitimised or silenced, along with economic and political claims relating to them.

This is the case, for instance, for feminist critiques of science and social science Haraway , Harding , as well as Marxist and anti-colonialist critiques of science going back to the s. Indeed this has motivated our own interest in the subject; in the ways dominant forest science has silenced the perspectives and interests of African and Caribbean farmers and land users a motivation shared by a number of the contributors to this Bulletin.

Such scepticism with its origins in political experience is easily transformed into a methodological scepticism towards all science. Scientific knowledge is created by people and institutions with particular situated and partial perspectives. Official ideologies about objectivity and scientific method may be bad guides to how scientific knowledge is actually made Haraway Certain analytical traditions in science and technology studies explicitly consider international dimensions to science.

Reviewing these, Schrum and Shenhav distinguish works rooted in theories of modernisation, theories of dependency and theories of power, knowledge and institutions. Modernisation theory considers how science and technology leads to or even constitutes progress and development. Institutional theory, in contrast, explains the adoption of structurally similar forms of science throughout the world, and assumptions concerning the universality of science, and its necessity for modernisation. It considers the processes through which scientific institutions and beliefs are prescribed and diffused as a key component of the modern world system.

While such institutional alignment might promote comparability, it does not promote solutions to local problems see Amanor and Fairhead and Leach, infra. Although apparently developing in tandem with them, this focus on the institutionalisation of particular forms of knowledge strongly resembles analyses in anthropology and history rooted in the Foucaultian tradition. Keeping cultures alive: How cooking and singing can save the Amazon forest.

Van der Werf, G.

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Randerson, J. CO2 emissions from forest loss. Nature Geoscience, 2 11 , World Bank. Forests and Economic Development. More resilient ecosystems Choose resolution: x x x x x x x x Download. Support health and nutrition Choose resolution: x x x x x x x x Download. Corridors enabling genetic flow and animal migration are retained, or in some instances, reinstated. This, especially in forest fringes, may entail changed land use. Certainly there are many instances where marginal, high rainfall agricultural country would be reinstated to more productive forest use. Generic terms are appearing in the literature describing a shift in forest management from a wood fibre commodity driven base to a sustainable systems base providing diverse products.

New Forestry has been the main term used in the US to describe this shift. Other samples of the new jargon from around the world are ecologically sustainable forest management , sustainable integrated multiple use , total canopy , and ProSilva. It appears that although the terms are used in different ways to mean different things, there exist many similarities in the management approaches. Certainly the philosophic basis for the apparent move for change is the same — an inherent need to provide society with the greatest sustainable net worth from forests.

Many changes are implied, which become inherent as a resource which society relies on, diminishes. Research has revealed that the complexity of linkages in natural forest ecosystems are much more complex than foresters or scientists believed them to be. New approaches add knowledge and techniques to existing approaches, thereby generating more management options. The future will see an increasing understanding of how it is possible to achieve a variety of social goals on the same lands without sacrificing the quality of anyone.

The forestry profession has an ethical responsibility to promote continuous improvement in forest science, policy and practice: but this cannot be achieved without risk. I think you are going to see a renaissance of forestry, that is, foresters developing site-specific prescriptions for how to manage public and private forestlands using all the silvicultural tools that they were taught. Despite some quite profound differences, such as a fire-adapted ecology, based heavily on evergreen Myrtacae , these ideas emanating from other parts of the world find fertile ground in which to grow in Australia.


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  4. Management of native forests in Australia has followed the classical path of exploitation, control and active management. As society now demands more than a commodity base from its forest, and given the majority of the Australian population live in near proximity to the major native forests, expectations and pressure on this finite resource is ever increasing. There have been many changes to the once autocratic forest services and a plethora of conflicts, public enquires and decision making processes relating to forest land use have been undertaken.

    The Resource Assessment Commission has identified three major issues following its exhaustive assessment of the national situation:. There is a need to base the management of the future on high scientific objectivity. However, it is observed that some of the proposed applications or proposed practices can be viewed as working hypotheses or experiments until they are verified.

    The importance of biological legacies discussed in the recent literature is of fundamental importance in the Australian biota where fire, particularly in the forests of the south-east, has provided repeated catastrophic events.

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    This must be given a high priority in evolving systems of ecologically based sustainable forest management. Historically the various forest ecosystems in Australia have a broad spectrum of natural fire frequency, intensity and patchiness. However, years of use of the forests has created a different environment with a changed set of values.

    The inappropriate use of alternative silvicultural methods may result in a long term loss of sustainability if a higher risk of a catastrophic fire event is not included in the equation. The use of appropriate systems, including fire, to strategically address the maintenance of asset values given by society must form part of any new and sustainable management system.

    There is much collaborative multidisciplinary research being undertaken in Australia to balance ecosystem conservation and sustained wood production. Much of the effort has been based on allocation or separation of use to achieve the balance. The way of the future sustainable systems will be an increasing move towards truly integrated multiple use, to produce the greatest net benefit on any given site.


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    The debate in the US and Europe of the need for and rate of change is very intense within and without the forestry profession. Australia has rapidly embraced new appropriate technologies and leads the world in many areas. Let us as a nation be leaders and not be in a position where we are caught by a shift in consumer demand. If the concept of forest product certification based on a number of sustainable criteria is introduced more comprehensively by the major trading nations the issue of ecologically sustainable forest management will be forced on us or become a major barrier to trade.

    Australia is well placed to facilitate new, more site specific practices. As the world demand for quality hardwoods increases, the expected increase in their value should allow more intensive site specific silvicultural systems, which are currently not feasible to be applied in the future. We still have some sound forest ecosystems that retain their biodiversity and structure, and provide us with working ecosystem models.

    Central Europe never had this biodiversity due to early Holocene ice sheet scouring, the barriers to colonisation presented by the Alps, and the subsequent ecosystem simplification wrought by human activity [12]. Even in synthetic and degraded ecosystems such as those now occupied by agriculture and plantations, we still have sufficient genetic material, information and modelling techniques to construct an approximate structure of the original proven forest ecosystem.

    Our sense of community and compassion for the weak or disadvantaged is also strong — a sensitivity that is vital in caring also for the forest community. These forests are not only softwoods. High quality deciduous hardwood such as oaks, beech, maple and ash are just as important.

    Equally, different species in the northern hemisphere display the full range of shade intolerance as do our species. By applying FSC standards to forest plantations, we can ensure that the right trees are chosen for the right locations, and that the remaining natural values in the areas are protected or restored. In this way, these areas can help to store carbon, restore biodiversity and provide real benefits for people. Well, in some ways yes, but it would leave us with some even bigger problems.

    We cannot produce all of the wood and fibre products that the world needs just from responsibly managed natural forest. This ensures consumer demands for housing, paper and furniture can be met. In short, they are vital to the survival of the natural forest, which would otherwise be in even greater danger of over-use. They also need to support social and environmental responsibility. And I have seen them do just that. I remember travelling through miles of denuded grasslands in Brazil which are just used for some miserable, scrawny cattle — nothing else grew there.

    In this way, the whole area can accommodate a more balanced ecosystem with room for plants and animals that have absolutely no chance in the surrounding grasslands.

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    For instance, the puma population is thriving here. By enforcing FSC values, our certificate holders can ensure room within forest plantations for indigenous trees, wetlands and natural structures. They can ensure working conditions are good for the people that live in these areas. Jobs in areas like these are essential, and it is our duty to support such developments wherever it is possible.

    I fully understand that you may still regard forest plantations with deep skepticism. So do I, and there are many examples of poorly designed plantations with the wrong trees in the wrong places and providing no conservation or social value.

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