Jacqueline Logmani ,
Michal Tymoteusz Lecyk
International forest policy
International forest regime complex
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Chair of Forest and Nature Conservation Policy, Büsgenweg 3, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Received 3 May 2016. Revised 7 November 2016. Accepted 8 November 2016. Available online 14 November 2016.
The International Forest Regime Complex consists of a number of institutional elements aiming to regulate forests. Among them the main line of conflict runs between production-oriented and conservation-oriented elements. Voluntary National Forest Programmes as well as biodiversity conservation policies, such as the Convention on Biodiversity and the EU Natura 2000 policy, reflect the main institutional elements of the forest regime complex. The implementation of such individual regime elements as well as the resulting domestic political customizations and consequences in countries, however, so far received little scrutiny. Before this background, this article aims to analyses the political influence of implementing important production- as well as conservation-oriented elements of the International Forest Regime Complex in Poland alongside with important customizations in both processes. Theoretically, we draw on the framework of four pathways of international influences and combine it with bureaucratic politics theory. Empirically, the current study focuses on qualitative in-depths insights into the so far failed implementation of a National Forest Programme in Poland, as well as the implementation and transposition of the EU NATURA 2000 policy, using Bialowieza Forest as an exemplary case. Our results indicate that the Polish Ministry of Environment has driven both processes. Both regime elements were clearly customized by bureaucratic action during the implementation process. While Nature 2000 triggered international support for protection-oriented interests, the dominant production-oriented bureaucracy overweighed it. The forestry bureaucracy offered to accept additional restrictions of forestry for nature protection, but only because they were linked to a gain in territorial authority over Bialowieza National Park and reduced political expectations about Natura 2000 sites all over the country. This re-definition of a formerly conservation-oriented element into a useful tool for production interests can be seen as an intentional, strategic customization of a regime element. In contrast, the process of creating the National Forest Programme so far failed once and since then is under conflictive negotiation. It was drafted as a detailed, nation-wide management plan, rather than a vague and general symbolic policy document as in most other countries. This exceptional customization of the NFP element in the tradition of management planning eventually threatened the dominant forestry interests and, hence, is seen a case of policy non-implementation.