Peter Elsasser ,
Institute for Economics, Federal Research Centre for Forestry and Forest Products (BFH), Leuschnerstr.91, D-21031 Hamburg, Germany
Received 28 April 2006. Revised 18 September 2006. Accepted 11 October 2006. Available online 22 November 2006.
Participatory National Forest Programmes (NFPs) intend to democratise forest sector policy, but they may suffer from a fundamental democratic legitimisation deficit since the stakeholders involved are neither democratically authorised nor accountable to the population. In order to scrutinise the empirical relevance of this problem in the case of the German NFP, it is analysed how the German population on the one hand and the NFP participants on the other hand assess central forest policy aims of the NFP, and how far both assessments coincide. Two surveys based on identical questionnaires are used as the data base. The respondents assessed the importance of the respective aims as well as at their implementation. Results show that the population considers the majority of the NFP aims to be generally relevant, but assesses the majority of the aims significantly differently from the stakeholders. The formal legitimisation deficit of the German NFP therefore also matters in terms of content. Discussing the NFP among the elected representatives and in the public seems indispensable.
Moreover, the differences in the assessment of some policy aims are significantly dependent on how people judge the image of forest enterprises between the opposing poles of profit orientation and nature protection. Public acceptance of those aims could be furthered more appropriately by adjusting the partly incorrect image of forestry rather than by providing more information about the particular aims and their background.
For further details log on website :