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Contestations Over Biodiversity Protection: Considering Peircean Semiosis

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  • Juha Hiedanpaa
  • Daniel W. Bromley
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    Abstract

    We develop the general outlines of an evolutionary biodiversity policy that is consistent with the pragmatism of Charles Sanders Peirce and the institutional economics of John R. Commons. Our model is applied to recent experiences with biodiversity policy in Finland, especially a local policy initiative: Natural Values Trading (2003-2007). The purpose of this experiment was to explore how a voluntary, fixed-term, payment- and incentive-based scheme for biodiversity protection might perform. As a result of the experiment, the principles of the scheme have become a formalised part of Finnish forest biodiversity law and policy. In this paper we analyse the evolution of this particular institutional arrangement by applying Peircean semiosis and the negotiational psychology of Commons. A central component of our approach will be to explicate the role and significance of sign processes in: (1) how and why the need for new policy instruments emerges; (2) how those policies are developed, designed and tested; and (3) how decisions about those new instruments are made. We urge that the sign process should play a greater role in how scholars understand the evolution of biodiversity policy. Semiosis is 'good to think with'.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by White Horse Press in its journal Environmental Values.

    Volume (Year): 21 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 3 (August)
    Pages: 357-378

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    Handle: RePEc:env:journl:ev21:ev2117

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    Web page: http://www.erica.demon.co.uk

    Related research

    Keywords: Biodiversity policy; institutional evolution; pragmatism; institutional economics; semiosis;

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    References

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    1. Juutinen, Artti & Mantymaa, Erkki & Monkkonen, Mikko & Svento, Rauli, 2008. "Voluntary agreements in protecting privately owned forests in Finland -- To buy or to lease," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 230-239, February.
    2. Rutherford,Malcolm, 1994. "Institutions in Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521451895, October.
    3. Pagiola, Stefano & Arcenas, Agustin & Platais, Gunars, 2005. "Can Payments for Environmental Services Help Reduce Poverty? An Exploration of the Issues and the Evidence to Date from Latin America," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 237-253, February.
    4. Fisher, Brendan & Turner, R. Kerry & Morling, Paul, 2009. "Defining and classifying ecosystem services for decision making," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 643-653, January.
    5. Vatn, Arild, 2010. "An institutional analysis of payments for environmental services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(6), pages 1245-1252, April.
    6. Ben A. Minteer, 2005. "Environmental Philosophy and the Public Interest: A Pragmatic Reconciliation," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 14(1), pages 37-60, February.
    7. Crouch, Colin, 2005. "Capitalist Diversity and Change: Recombinant Governance and Institutional Entrepreneurs," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199286652.
    8. Bromley, Daniel W., 2008. "Volitional pragmatism," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1-2), pages 1-13, December.
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