Discources, actors and instruments in international forest governance

Bas Arts, Marie Appelstrand, Daniela Kleinschmit, Helga Pülzl, Ingrid Vissen-Hamakers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


Politics are not only about interests and institutions but discourses as well. Discourses are (dominant) ideas, concepts and categorisations in a society that give meaning to reality and that shape the identities, interests and preferences of individuals and groups. The assumption of this chapter is that forest discourses are constitutive to global forest politics. Three forest-related types of discourses are distinguished: meta discourses that relate to global economics, politics and culture; regulatory discourses that deal with the regulation and instrumentation of policy issues; and forest discourses that shape forest issues and policies in specific ways. On the basis of a scientific literature review, the main discourses within these three categories (meta, regulatory and forest discourses) as well as three regional forest discourses (Africa, Asia and Latin-America) are analysed. This analysis leads to a number of policy messages: (1) policy makers should try to understand and embrace discursive complexity (instead of artificially reducing it); (2) awareness of this discursive complexity improves global forest negotiations; (3) orchestrated collective action might lead to discursive change; and (4) there is a need for new, open, discursive arenas to improve global forest policymaking.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIUFRO World series
ISBN (Print)978-3-902762-01-6
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Publication series


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Law and Society

Free keywords

  • regulatory discourse
  • global forest policy
  • meta discourse
  • forest discourse


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