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Building resilience through dynamic institutional efficiency The case of forest biodiversity in private forests in Flanders. Prof. Tom Dedeurwaerdere Research director at the Biodiversity Governance Unit, Centre for the philosophy of law (UCL).

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Building resilience through dynamic institutional efficiencyThe case of forest biodiversity in private forests in Flanders

Prof. Tom Dedeurwaerdere

Research director at the Biodiversity Governance Unit, Centre for the philosophy of law (UCL)

Contribution au “Midis Informels” du group de recherche “Forêt, Nature et Société”

http://www.uclouvain.be/foret-nature-societe ; 13 mars 2008

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1. Introduction

How can forest management institutions adapt to global change ?

a non resilient institutional system top down forest regulation in flanders in the 1990

A non resilient institutional system : top down forest regulation in Flanders in the 1990

No private forest owners were managing their forests, due to their difficulties to implement the new top down forest regulations in the 1990.

building resilience in the institutional system collaborative approach

Building resilience in the institutional system : collaborative approach

1. In 1994 a pilot project started which received early recognition as an instance where new ways of dealing with forest management could be experimented. It\'s only after the experiment had gained some momentum that the forest policy law was changed, based on the lessons that were learned from this project.

2. A flexible legal framework was designed that, while setting 12 targets to be reached by sustainable forestry, allowed further learning in the pilot JFM organizations.

forest tree species in flanders
Forest tree species in Flanders
  • In Vlaanderen bestaat het bos voor 50% uit loofbos, voor 36% uit naaldbos en voor 11% uit gemengde bestanden. De niet-beboste oppervlakte (2%) omvat onder meer recente kap- en brandvlaktes, lig- en speelweiden, hooilanden en braakliggende terreinen die tot bosdomeinen behoren.
  • Op basis van het houtvolume zijn de meest voorkomende loofboomsoorten respectievelijk populier (30%), zomereik (20%) en beuk (14%). De belangrijkste naaldboomsoorten zijn grove den (60%) en Corsicaanse den (27%).
  • De bosbestanden in Vlaanderen zijn erg jong: 55% is jonger dan 40 jaar. Amper 6% van de bosbestanden is ouder dan 60 jaar en 21% van de bossen telt bomen van verschillende leeftijden.
ecological health of forest landscapes
Ecological health of forest landscapes
  • The relevant criteria for the ecological health of forest landscapes is not so much the diversity of tree species as the maintenance of functional diversity in the landscape, of which the contribution to global species diversity is only one component
  • Different types of ecosystem services can be distinguished in small and fragmented forest landscapes, including regulating and supporting services, provisioning services, cultural services and forest biodiversity
forest related eco services
Forest related eco-services
  • Regulation services (regulation of ecosystems processes providing human material benefits) : water purification, air quality maintenance through the retention or detoxification of pollution, erosion control, climate regulation through carbon storage and microclimatic stabilisation ;
  • Supporting services (regulation of ecosystems processes providing benefits to other ecosystems) : soil formation, feeding habitat, nutrient recycling, ground cover for key watersheds
  • Production services (products obtained from the forest) : timber, wild living resources, medicinal plants ;
  • Cultural services (human non-material benefits form the forest) : recreation, aesthetic, educational and scientific information ;
  • Forest biodiversity (contribution to the diversity of the global and local gene stock) : tree diversity, forest plant diversity and forest wildlife diversity.
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Cooperative management with private forest owners as a way to fill the gap in the forest management regime
  • Increasing demands for forest related services in densely populated regions
  • Afforestation and buy back policies (70 % currently private ownership) can only partly satisfy the demand
  • Multifunctional management appears to be the most to the hands means of extending the services
  • Forest certification and nature reserve policy remain limited in scope. These tools are effective in the case of well-identified actors who control the use of the resources in a cost-effective manner (such as in the case of few large forest owners of a certain area), but face important difficulties in the management of patches of small and fragmented forests with a heterogeneous set of owners
collective action problems
Collective action problems
  • First, forest biodiversity and the related ecosystems services have public good properties as many ecosystems services are non-exclusive in use
  • Second, the sustainable management of small and fragmented forests has to deal with spatial externalities.
institutional solutions
Institutional solutions
  • The spatial externalities of forest biodiversity and the public good character of the forest related ecosystems services have been used as arguments for public intervention in forest management. This has resulted in
    • the programs for buying back high nature valued land by the state,
    • compensation payments to private owners and
    • enforcement of state regulation.
    • in the case of a mosaic of small and fragmented forest patches: joint forest management
benefits of the jm organisations
Benefits of the JM organisations
  • From the point of view of the building of cost-effective institutions, the main benefit of the JFM institution is its contribution to lowering the transaction costs of the forest owners in their negotiation with the administration
  • Creation of a market for small forest timber products
  • Second, JFM facilitates the negotiation of forest access plans with the different use groups and the local administration through organising collective dialogue.
limits of economic incentives for private forest owners
Limits of economic incentives for private forest owners
  • The failure of the transition to sustainable forest management cannot be explained by an insufficient level of economic incentives such as cost-share policies.
  • As pointed out by an in depth study of forest conversion which includes the BZK working area, the economic incentive scheme covers more than the costs and the lost revenue of forest conversion to the forest owner
  • For instance, the lost revenue is estimated to be between 45 and 96 Euro’s/ha/year for conversion from a Corsican pine stand to pedunculate oak under a rotation period of 77 years (Ibid., p. 71), while the direct subsidies are around 150 euro per ha yearly
  • Between 1990 and 1999 only 200 to 250 owners per year applied and received the reforestation subsidy, while only 133 ha and 317 ha respectively applied and received the subsidy for forest management plans and for opening up their land for private use
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When a private forest owners opens his forest for users, he receives 2 euro / meter ; with a maximum of 50 euro / ha / forest
  • For the indication of recognized play zones 100 Euro / ha
  • In practice less than 45 000 ha opened up forest, nearly exclusively in the public forests (needs evaluated at min 60 000 ha)
monitoring change in beliefs the adoption of criteria for sustainable forest management
Monitoring change in beliefs : the adoption of criteria for sustainable forest management

The CSFM are a clear expression of what the concept of multifunctional forest management would look like in the ideal case. It defines clear targets organized around 6 main sets of criteria of sustainable forestry. Each set of criteria is measured through a set of legally specified indicators, leading in total to a set of 24 criteria and 52 indicators :

  • 1. Criteria for the implementation of the existing legislation
  • 2. Criteria for the maintaining of the social and cultural functions of the forest
  • 3. Criteria for the maintaining of the economic and productive functions of the forest
  • 4. Criteria for contribution to the protection of the environment
  • 5. Criteria for the contribution to biodiversity conservation
  • 6. Criteria for monitoring and planning of the forest management
evaluation of the evolution of beliefs in the bzk forest group
Evaluation of the evolution of beliefs in the BZK forest group
  • The main lessons drawn from this matrix are (for the detailed correspondence matrix, cf. annex 1) :
  • (1) Correspondences between CSFM and BZK : mainly within the criteria set 2 (social and cultural functions) and 6 (monitoring and planning) ; some indicators of criteria set 3 (economic functions) and 5 (forest diversity)
  • (2) Gaps between CSFM and BZK : no clear reference in BZK to criteria set 4 (environmental services) and very few to criteria set 5 (forest diversity)
institutional design principles for reflexive governance i change in beliefs
Institutional design principles for reflexive governance I : change in beliefs
  • First, the project starts from the interests and needs of the forest owners, rather than their position and discourse in regards to nature conservation.
  • Second, the JFM group organizes itself a learning process on the definition of the sustainability targets.
  • Third, the design of the learning process is evaluated at regular intervals by the participants to adapt it to the local circumstances and stakes at hand.
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204 out of 276 respondents represent a specific owner type (62 \'economists\', 73 \'recreationists\' and 69 \'passive owners\')

institutional design principles for reflexive governance ii change in the social norms
Institutional design principles for reflexive governance II : change in the social norms
  • attribution of collective decision rights to the owners
  • participation of forest owners to forest management activities or to interaction with user groups in forest related activities
some concluding remarks on the forest group case study
Some concluding remarks on the Forest Group Case study
  • a clear division of tasks was established : the control function of compliance with government regulation remained with the executive bodies such as the forest administration, the forest rangers and the local authorities, while the social learning was the task of the JFM management institution
  • The JFM organisation receives support by the government, as long as the operational objectives, formulated through a clear set of indicators, are met and if the indicators show a progress in moving towards the government targets.
opportunities for interdisciplinary research around governance issues
Opportunities for interdisciplinary research around governance issues
  • 1. Empirical research on the provision of local and global public goods in forest ecosystems
  • 2. Effectiveness of different governance mechanisms
open access to research
Open access to research ….
  • Text available at
  • www.cpdr.ucl.ac.be/dedeurwaerdere
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