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An obituary for national forest programmes? Analyzing and learning from the strategic use of “new modes of governance” in Germany and Bulgaria

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  • Winkel, Georg
  • Sotirov, Metodi

Abstract

National Forest Programmes (NFPs) have been widely discussed as being potential instruments for concretizing the abstract international consensus on sustainable forest management at a national level. Furthermore, they were expected to enhance governance principles such as public participation, holistic and inter-sectoral coordination, decentralisation and long-term iterative and adaptive planning. In our paper, we offer a slightly different perspective on NFPs: Drawing on two empirical case studies (Germany and Bulgaria), we first show that the NFPs in both countries met the aforementioned governance principles. However, when it comes to their potential to trigger forest policy change and to concretize sustainable forest management “on the ground”, NFPs turned out to be less effective in both countries. Moreover, our analysis, drawing on the Advocacy Coalition Framework, embeds the development of NFPs in long-lasting struggles between actor coalitions of diverging beliefs and allows for an interpretation in which the NFPs in both countries were used by powerful actors to serve certain strategic goals. We argue that in the case of Germany, an important motivation for the forestry coalition to develop the NFP was to occupy their counterpart, the nature conservation coalition, with a long-lasting negotiation process that had no substantial influence on the national forest policy. In Bulgaria, vital reasons for launching the NFP were, on one hand, to satisfy the demands of international donors and, on the other hand, to incorporate beliefs of powerful actors into the national forest policy. These findings, according to our conclusion, notably diminish expectations regarding the potential of NFPs as instruments for policy learning and policy change. Our paper concludes with recommendations for further research.

Suggested Citation

  • Winkel, Georg & Sotirov, Metodi, 2011. "An obituary for national forest programmes? Analyzing and learning from the strategic use of “new modes of governance” in Germany and Bulgaria," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 143-154.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:forpol:v:13:y:2011:i:2:p:143-154
    DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2010.06.005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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