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In this pilot study, we examine the relationship between the organisation of property rights and the economic importance of forestry on the one hand and the degree to which integrative nature conservation is formally implemented in forest policy on the other hand. Further, we are interested in whether political institutions moderate this relationship. We first offer a conceptualization of integrative nature conservation in forests and how to measure its implementation in law, ordinances and private agreements for a sample of European national and sub-national jurisdictions (Austria, Croatia, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Flanders, Baden-Württemberg and Piedmont). We subsequently try to assess the implementation of these rules and to relate them both to the structural characteristics of forestry and to an appraisal of pluralism in forest policy. Our qualitative analysis reveals that among the jurisdictions with a more centralized and corporatist forest policy, integrative nature conservation in forests tend to be less formally implemented the more corporatism dominates decision-making. It also confirms the expectation that among Communicated by Georg Winkel. the more consensual jurisdictions with a strong forestry sector, rules tend to be less for-mally implemented. Further, the suspicion prevails that in the latter case, such rules are either complemented with exceptions for private forests or higher compensation. A more in-depth comparative examination is needed to further corroborate these findings.
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ORIGINAL PAPER
Comparison of integrative nature conservation in forest
policy in Europe: a qualitative pilot study of institutional
determinants
Tobias Schulz Frank Krumm Winfried Bu
¨cking Georg Frank
Daniel Kraus Markus Lier Marko Lovric
´
Marieke van der Maaten-Theunissen Yoan Paillet Jari Parviainen
Giorgio Vacchiano Kris Vandekerkhove
Received: 2 April 2014 / Revised: 30 September 2014 / Accepted: 4 October 2014
Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014
Abstract In this pilot study, we examine the relationship between the organisation of
property rights and the economic importance of forestry on the one hand and the degree to
which integrative nature conservation is formally implemented in forest policy on the other
hand. Further, we are interested in whether political institutions moderate this relationship.
We first offer a conceptualization of integrative nature conservation in forests and how to
measure its implementation in law, ordinances and private agreements for a sample of
European national and sub-national jurisdictions (Austria, Croatia, Finland, France, the
Netherlands, Switzerland, Flanders, Baden-Wu
¨rttemberg and Piedmont). We subsequently
try to assess the implementation of these rules and to relate them both to the structural
characteristics of forestry and to an appraisal of pluralism in forest policy. Our qualitative
analysis reveals that among the jurisdictions with a more centralized and corporatist forest
policy, integrative nature conservation in forests tend to be less formally implemented the
more corporatism dominates decision-making. It also confirms the expectation that among
Communicated by Georg Winkel.
T. Schulz (&)
Swiss Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, Zu
¨rcherstrasse 111,
8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
e-mail: tobias.schulz@wsl.ch
F. Krumm D. Kraus
EFI Central European Regional Office EFICENT, Wonnhalde 4, 79100 Freiburg, Germany
W. Bu
¨cking
Previously Forest Research Institute of Baden-Wu
¨rttemberg, Saalenbergstrasse 7, 79294 So
¨lden,
Austria
G. Frank
Federal Research and Training Centre for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape, Hauptstrasse 7,
1140 Vienna, Austria
M. Lier J. Parviainen
The Finnish Forest Research Institute, Yliopistokatu 6, PO Box 68, 80101 Joensuu, Finland
123
Biodivers Conserv
DOI 10.1007/s10531-014-0817-0
the more consensual jurisdictions with a strong forestry sector, rules tend to be less for-
mally implemented. Further, the suspicion prevails that in the latter case, such rules are
either complemented with exceptions for private forests or higher compensation. A more
in-depth comparative examination is needed to further corroborate these findings.
Keywords Integrative nature protection Forest policy Country comparison
Introduction
Nature conservation efforts, both in forests and elsewhere, primarily follow two different
approaches (Kraus and Krumm 2013; Bollmann and Braunisch 2013): A segregative
approach aims for a spatially explicit separation of areas for production and conservation,
and focuses the efforts for biodiversity conservation in a network of strictly protected areas
(e.g., IUCN conservation area categories I–III). The integrative approach to nature con-
servation on the other hand is relevant to multifunctional productive forests both within
and outside protected areas where integration of productive and conservation goals (within
the management unit) are possible and aimed for.
Although networks of strictly protected areas are further extended, and are essential for
the conservation of many highly demanding species (e.g. Mu
¨ller and Bu
¨tler 2010), a large
majority of forests will continue to have a productive function. A multifunctional man-
agement, integrating nature conservation goals and production goals will therefore be
essentially required to maintain large-scale biodiversity (Parviainen and Frank 2003).
Accordingly, an adequate combination of segregative and integrative conservation strat-
egies is needed to maintain ecosystem integrity, structural complexity and habitat con-
nectivity (Bollmann and Braunisch 2013; Vandekerkhove et al. 2011; Kraus and Krumm
2013; Frank et al. 2007).
The effective implementation of corresponding biodiversity conservation rules (from
common sense to law) into different forest policies has been identified as one of the main
challenges of biodiversity conservation strategies in the future (Rands et al. 2010).
There is little knowledge, however, about how to identify integrative conservation
strategies for forests and even less is known about the factors that support their imple-
mentation. Proceeding from this observation, we compiled information on state and private
sector management rules that aim to secure biodiversity in forests as well as on the
structure of forestry and the political organisation of forest policy in a set of European
M. Lovric
´
European Forest Institute, Yliopistokatu 6, PO Box 68, 80101 Joensuu, Finland
M. van der Maaten-Theunissen
Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology, University of Greifswald, Soldmannstrasse 15,
17487 Greifswald, Germany
Y. Paillet
Irstea, UR EFNO, Domaine des Barres, 45290 Nogent-Sur-Vernisson, France
G. Vacchiano
Universita
`degi Studi di Torino, DISAFA, Via da Vinci 44, 10095 Grugliasco, Italy
K. Vandekerkhove
INBO, Research Institute for Nature and Forests, Kliniekstraat 25, Brussels, Belgium
Biodivers Conserv
123
countries and sub-national jurisdictions (further called ‘cases’ or ‘jurisdictions’) in order to
provide a preliminary contribution to the following research questions:
(1) How should integrative nature conservation be defined in terms of forest policy
instruments that can be observed in different cases?
(2) Which institutional and structural characteristics of a case can explain the degree of
formalization of integrative nature conservation instruments in forest policy?
This study constitutes a pilot approach aimed at developing the conceptual framework
and provides a first insight on the possible drivers of implementation of biodiversity-
oriented forest policies in Europe. Starting point for our analysis was a number of reports
on integrative nature conservation for different countries and sub-national jurisdictions that
had been compiled within the framework of the INTEGRATE I project (see the list of
reports preceding the reference list) and an additional questionnaire on specific indicators
of integrative forest management (see below) sent to the respective authors
Building on this information, we will first conceptualize integrative nature conservation
in forests. Based on our own expertise and previous published works, we then qualitatively
assess the degree of formalization of conservation-oriented rules in forest policy and
confront it to various possible economic and political determinants encompassing property
rights structures and decision-making institutions.
Materials and methods
Cases examined
We a priori classified the cases of our sample in three groups that represent different
models of decision-making (consensuality and centralisation) but also different structural
characteristics of forestry in Europe (compare Winkel and Sotirov 2014 for a similar
grouping):
Group A: Switzerland (CH), Baden–Wu
¨rttemberg (B–W) and Piedmont (Pie). These are
jurisdictions with relatively consensual and decentralized decision-making institutions in
general—but particularly for forest policy—and a relatively strong forest sector in which,
however, public forests play a major role.
Group B: Finland (FI), France (FR), Croatia (HR) and Austria (AT). These are juris-
dictions with a relatively centralized political system (except Austria) but particularly with
centralized decision-making structures in forest policy, a strong private forest sector and a
less consensual (and thus corporatist) organization of forest policy.
Group C: Netherlands (NL), and Flanders (Fla). These are jurisdictions with consensual
decision-making institutions for forest policy and a forestry sector that is of lesser eco-
nomic importance.
Conceptual background for measurement and analysis
Integrative nature conservation in forest policy
According to Jordan and Lenschow (2010), environmental policy integration aims at
systematically connecting environmental policy goals with—sometimes conflicting—
social and economic considerations. What counts in the end is whether policy integration
takes place at the instrument level (Jordan and Lenschow 2010). For example, by designing
Biodivers Conserv
123
forest management rules for commercial forestry that shall secure biodiversity conserva-
tion and that are either mandatory or at least accepted by most actors in the sector.
However, negotiating and implementing policy integration requires procedural and
organizational reforms (Sgobbi 2010). Ultimately, we thus aim at identifying the political
institutions and the respective organization of political decision-making (e.g., national
forest programmes) that support integrated nature conservation in forest policy.
Indicators of integrative nature conservation in forests
Integrative nature conservation in forests can be secured by designing and successfully
implementing specific management instructions that provide a minimum habitat quality
and conserve important (structural) elements for biodiversity (e.g., key habitats, habitat
trees, dead wood) at the stand level. Forest management rules securing such integrative
nature conservation in the productive forest are usually subsumed under labels such as
‘sustainable multifunctional forest management’’ or, more specifically, ‘‘close-to-nature’
forestry.
1
Several indicators for habitat quality and related ‘‘sustainable forest management’’ rules
have been proposed (e.g. Secco et al. 2011a), but they are either too coarse for our purpose,
or they lack focus on integrative nature conservation. Holvoet and Muys (2004) developed
a comprehensive list of sustainable forest management regulations (including certification)
for different administrative levels (national, international) in Europe. Similarly, Maes et al.
(2011) provided a list of 157 potential indicators of the environmental aspects of sus-
tainable forest management. However, this wealth of indicators can contain quite some
overlap and redundancy (Hahn and Knoke 2010). Foster et al. (2010) provided a more
manageable list of indicators that also included management concepts.
Based on Kraus and Krumm (2013), we propose five groups of indicators more spe-
cifically designed to identify integrative nature conservation management rules in forests at
the stand level (see Table 2in the results section for the individual indicators):
Forest stand structure: Restrictions on transformations from mixed or multi-layered
stands to pure or mono-layered stands; limitations to understory treatments; preservation of
traditional forest structures.
Tree species composition: Prescriptions about ‘‘natural’’ or native forest types and
restrictions to their replacement with exotic species or about the allowed share of exotic
species; prescriptions to fight invasive species in forests.
Old-growth stages and dead wood: Restrictions on felling old and habitat trees;
retention of ‘‘old-growth patches’’; retention of a minimum volume of dead wood.
Natural regeneration: Rules about natural regeneration of felled areas and treatment of
areas that have experienced disturbances.
Target species/biotopes: Rules to preserve certain target species and special biotopes
within forest stands (e.g., breeding sites, small habitats such as ponds); mapping of bio-
diversity spots and prescriptions on their treatment.
Other: Regulation of fertilization, gene sources, control of game population, seasonal
harvesting bans, fixed skidding tracks.
Each of these thematic groups consists of 3–7 items, resulting in a list of 30 indicators
(Table 2).
1
We are aware that ,,close-to-nature‘‘silviculture can be ill-defined and has been criticized for failing to
emulate large-scale disturbances and therefore biodiversity associated to open landscapes (Puettmann et al.
2009).
Biodivers Conserv
123
Implementation of integrative nature conservation in forest policy
Providing a list of indicators with relevant regulations in forest policy was not sufficient for
our case, as we are also interested in how formalized and compulsory the respective rules
are. McDermott et al. (2008,2010) provided a corresponding instrument-typology for
identifying the stringency of certification systems across countries. They differentiate
between voluntary and mandatory instruments on the one hand and, on the other hand,
between procedure-based instruments, requiring merely declarations of intents or plans,
and behaviour-based instruments, providing specific prescriptions for forest management.
This classification system is particularly helpful to identify the stringency of respective
regulation since it allows to pin down the degree of compulsion as well as how ambitious
the regulation is. We simplified this classification system by neglecting the ambition of the
regulation—which would have been beyond the possibilities of this pilot study—and solely
analyzing the degree of formalization, which is more or less congruent with the degree of
compulsion employed by McDermott et al. (2008,2010).
To assess the degree of formalization and legal compulsion, we identified first, similar
as McDermott et al. (2008,2010), whether a rule (a) is mandatory or (b) defines a voluntary
state-led program. In addition, we examined in what sense the rule (c) is a formalized
agreement of the private sector or between the public and the private sector and
(d) whether or not financial incentives (subsidies) are provided to support participation or
compliance with the rule. If no rule was in place, we looked for corresponding
(e) ‘‘common-sense’’ practices that would be followed by forest managers and thus guide
the management of a very large part of the forests (moral obligation). We addressed each
indicator for private and public forests separately. In the process of examining criteria ato
efor each case, we excluded commitments directly related to the EU Natura 2000
Directive as they apply more at a supra-national level than national. We then built an
ordinal classification to describe the degree of implementation of biodiversity-oriented
measures for each case (Table 1).
Table 2in the results section was compiled based on a questionnaire that was distrib-
uted among the authors of this article. It contains the information about the formalization
of integrative nature conservation regulation in different cases in a condensed form. While
this table allows differentiating between the items of the above listed clusters of instru-
ments, it aggregates the information about the type of instrument, compensation and
common sense rules.
In the subsequent sections, we will formulate some expectations about how integrative
nature conservation rules may depend on institutional determinants such as socio-economic
structures of forestry and political system characteristics (institutions) of the forest policy
sector of a jurisdiction.
Structural and institutional determinants of conservation policies
Overall, in a number of European countries integrative nature conservation has become an
important issue on the political agenda. Concepts of ‘‘close-to-nature’’ forestry, and related
management guidelines and instructions have been discussed in several countries for many
years and substantial efforts have been undertaken to develop national forest programmes
based on participatory processes (Schanz 2002; Rayner and Howlett 2007). However, in
practice, a clear political consensus on integrative nature conservation does not arise in all
European countries (Winkel and Sotirov 2014) and hence, the respective legislation may
differ strongly, both, in formulation and in implementation.
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Problem severity According to Konisky and Woods (2012), the willingness of the actors
involved to tighten environmental regulation should increase with the severity of envi-
ronmental degradation. One intuitively appealing explanation for why biodiversity con-
servation had been integrated into forest legislation and practice to differing degrees in
different contexts is, of course, that the (perception of the) severity of the problem, i.e.,
biodiversity loss, differs across countries, due to various reasons.
It is difficult, however, to assess the degree of biodiversity loss comparatively by simply
referring to official statistics, e.g. Forest Europe and UNECE/FAO (2011a), since suitable
indicators are rare. Furthermore, measuring the state of biodiversity objectively does not
tell about how the problem is perceived and how seriously it is considered by decision-
makers in the political sphere.
Socio-economic importance and structure of forestry Generally, the possibilities to
impose strict regulation upon an industry diminish with the strength of the industries interest-
groups (lobbies) in the political decision-making process. Lacking better alternatives, the
strength of interest groups is often measured with the share of the Gross Domestic Product
(GDP), the respective industry produces in the country (Konisky and Woods 2012).
More specifically however, Gulbrandsen (2008) provided an interesting comparative
examination of the introduction of conservation instruments in forest policy (namely the
amount of protected forests and the number of small reserves) for Norway and Sweden.
Apart from features of the science-policy interface, he suggested two explanations that are
relevant for the adoption of such rules:
(i) Extent of private ownership: Usually, relatively few forest owners have to bear
the costs from nature conservation reforms in the forestry sector, while the
benefits are usually distributed widely. Private forest owners, particularly if they
are rather small family enterprises, often have reservations with respect to
management restrictions for nature conservation even when offered compensa-
tion, not necessarily because of the extra cost but mainly because these
constraints are perceived as imposed by state actors in a top-down manner and
are thus regarded as inflexible (Pouta 2005; Serbruyns and Luyssaert 2006). As a
consequence, due to the resistance and lobbying from the private forest sector, it
seems difficult for countries and sub-national jurisdictions to successfully
introduce binding rules about integrative nature conservation in forest law and
ordinances if the private forest sector is economically important and effectively
organized (Winkel and Sotirov 2011). A complementary argument is given by
McDermott et al. (2010, p. 347), who hypothesize that the larger the share of
public lands (in our case public forests) the stronger the pressure from civil
Table 1 Implementation of integrative nature conservation in forest policy
0 No regulation
1 Common sense rules
2 Non legally binding private sector agreement, low participation
3 Non legally binding private sector agreement, high participation
4 Legally binding but without mandatory participation and without compensation
5 Legally binding but without mandatory participation and with compensation
6 Legally binding and mandatory, without compensation
7 Legally binding and mandatory, with compensation
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Table 2 Integrative nature conservation in forests: regulation
Pr: private forests; pu: public forests CH B–W Pie AT FR FI HR NL Fla
pr pr pu pr pr pr pu pr pu pu pu pu pr pu pr pu pr pu
A Forest stand structure
A1 Treatment of small scaled specific site conditions 3 3 6 3004 51 1 7 7 67 77 00
A2 Mixed forest stands cannot be transformed by homogeneous stands 2 2 6 1101 11 0 0 0 67 00 66
A3 Homogeneous stands are to be transformed to mixed stands 6 6 6 1771 11 0 0 0 77 44 65
A4 Multi-layered stands cannot be transformed to mono-layered stands 2 2 0 1661 10 0 0 0 67 00 66
A5 Mono-layered stands are to be transformed to multi-layered stands 2 2 0 1551 10 0 0 0 21 00 64
A6 Treatment of the understory including shrubs 1 1 0 1551 16 1 0 0 67 66 00
A7 Typical traditional forest structures with high conservation value must be maintained 3 3 0 1504 56 6 0 0 41 55 65
B Tree species composition
B1 Tree species composition according to natural (native) regional forest associations/types 3 3 6 5664 56 7 6 6 77 00 65
B2 Native tree species cannot be replaced by exotic species 3 3 6 1661 10 0 6 6 77 00 64
B3 All forest stands should have an admixture of native species (%) 2 2 6 5001 10 0 6 6 77 00 65
B4 Native stands with unnatural dominance of certain species should be transformed to more
natural mixtures
336 5554 50 0 0 0 77 44 64
B5 Stands of exotic tree species should be entirely replaced by native and adapted tree species 0 0 4 0551 11 0 0 0 77 33 65
B6 Forest planning respects regional native/natural forest types 3 3 6 5601 16 6 6 6 77 11 65
B7 Invasive exotic species (trees and plants) must be controlled or eradicated 3 3 1 1501 16 1 0 0 77 66 33
C Old-growth phases and dead wood
C1 A number of old trees and habitat trees per ha are to be excluded from felling 3 3 6 0751 36 0 4 4 44 00 66
C2 Tree groups and ‘oldgrowth-patches’ within stands are to be excluded from felling 3 3 6 0001 36 0 3 3 20 00 32
C3 Old stands are to be excluded from rejuvenation felling and can continue to grow old 3 3 1 0001 16 0 0 0 60 11 36
C4 Average quantitative goal for dead wood (m
3
/ha) 3 3 6 0740 00 0 4 4 40 55 66
C5 Qualitative goals for dead wood preservation : species, size, decay 3 3 6 0000 06 3 0 0 60 00 66
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Table 2 continued
Pr: private forests; pu: public forests CH B–W Pie AT FR FI HR NL Fla
pr pr pu pr pr pr pu pr pu pu pu pu pr pu pr pu pr pu
D Natural rejuvenation phases
D1 Felled areas should regenerate naturally 3 3 6 1554 51 1 6 6 77 00 43
D2 A share of areas affected by stand-replacing disturbances should be left for free development 0 0 6 0000 00 0 0 0 00 00 00
E Target species/biotopes
E1 Biotopes with rare organisms are mapped and protected 7 7 6 6701 16 6 7 7 77 00 66
E2 Valuable non woody biotopes should be protected from forest operations 7 7 6 6661 16 1 6 6 77 00 66
E3 Known breeding places of target species should be protected from forest operations 2 2 6 1661 36 6 6 6 22 66 66
F Other
F1 Fertilization treatments are not allowed in any area with conservation status 6 6 0 0556 66 6 6 6 60 66 66
F2 Only local (autochthonous) gene sources can be used in planting 7 7 0 0000 00 1 6 6 60 11 64
F3 Only recognised gene sources can be used in planting 6 6 1 0770 06 6 6 6 60 00 66
F4 Overpopulation of game has to be controlled: game densities should fit the capacity of the forest
type.
774 1106 66 6 6 6 60 66 66
F5 Harvesting operations are not allowed in certain periods of the year (e.g., breeding season) 2 2 4 1661 16 1 6 6 60 66 66
F6 Fixed skidding tracks are to be used in order to limit damage to ground vegetation and soil
biology
226 1111 16 1 0 0 60 11 32
1 Common sense
2 Non legally binding private sector agreement, low participation
3 Non legally binding private sector agreement, high participation
4 Legally binding but without mandatory participation and without compensation
5 Legally binding but without mandatory participation and with compensation
6 Legally binding and mandatory, without compensation
7 Legally binding and mandatory, with compensation
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society and environmental organizations will be to tighten regulation (partic-
ularly concerning private actors).
(ii) Structure of private ownership: Furthermore, if forests are divided into small
patches of private ownership, it is likely that a large share of a single owner’s
forest will be affected by conservation efforts towards local high conservation
value scale (e.g., key habitats, biodiversity hotspots) that are unevenly
distributed across a region’s entire forest surface. This will impede implemen-
tation and, depending on how well the forestry sector is organised and how it
acts as an interest group, either prevent the enactment of stricter rules or result in
higher compensation for the management restrictions imposed.
Consensus orientation and decentralization in forest policy making Apart from those
structural reasons, the broad political system characteristics, which differ remarkably
between countries, might either facilitate or hinder the establishment of a set of formalized
rules on integrative nature conservation. There is, however, not much scientific agreement
about which kinds of decision-making structures support enacting stricter environmental
policies. In a small sample of European countries, Poloni-Staudinger (2008) found that:
(i) on the one hand, countries with consensual political systems are more likely to adopt
‘command-and-control’’ instruments for environmental policy in general. On the other
hand, she also showed that the more consensual a country, the less it will approve con-
servation policies. In her definition of consensuality, she refers to the first of Lijphart’s
(1999) dimensions of democracy, according to which consensual institutions secure a
broader recognition of interests and their representation in political decision-making.
However, she deliberately excludes one element: corporatist interest group organization,
i.e., cooperative policy-making between a small number of peak interest organizations and
the state. In Lijphart’s (1999) conceptualization, corporatist interest group representation is
actually an element of consensus democracies since this cooperative mode of decision-
making results in some form of consensus between the involved actors. However, as
Poloni-Staudinger (2008) argues, in the realm of environmental policy, the evidence on a
positive impact of corporatism is mixed, as environmental interests are likely to be
excluded in more narrowly defined corporatist decision-making processes affecting envi-
ronmental policy. Hence, a consensual forest policy might be described as a policy-making
approach that is open to various stakeholders and tries to integrate different opinions by
providing formal venues for consultation or even co-decision opportunities. It certainly
depends on the degree of consensus-orientation of the political system at large whether or
not such venues are provided also in forest policy-making.
As conservation policies usually constrain the well organized interest groups, such as
hunters associations and the agricultural sector, we expect that the latter will try to avoid
respective management rules in a narrowly corporatist system. But even without narrow
corporatism, consensual systems are still expected to ‘‘fail’’ in the conservation policy
realm if economic interests are strong and are in conflict with conservationist’s interests.
(ii) Federalism or decentralization, the second dimension adopted from Lijphart’s
(1999) democracy concept, supports the adoption of conservation policies. This is because
at a regional level, it is assumed to be easier to come to adapted and acceptable solutions,
even if well-organized interest groups will be negatively affected.
We thus expect less formalized rules for consensual (broad representation) system with
a strong private forestry sector as well as for centralized and corporatist systems. If the
private forestry sector is not that salient, consensuality might even be an asset for
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integrative nature conservation reforms in forest policy. More formalized rules can also be
expected for decentralized systems.
Traditionally, forest policy had been organized in a corporatist manner in many
countries. The degree of consensuality in forest policy is hard to assess, though. What
could be observed, however, was a clear trend to elaborate National Forest Programmes
(NFP) in European countries and this was also the case for virtually all the cases in our
sample, albeit to differing degrees and starting at different points in time (Table 4). While
the corresponding NFP-processes were mostly organized to secure the participation of
various stakeholders and thus were meant to put national forest policy on more partici-
patory and consensual grounds (Schanz 2002), this was not equally meaningful for all
sampled cases.
Instead of counting participatory venues and official consultatory stakeholder organi-
zations as a proxy of consensuality, we proceeded from a general assessment about how
narrowly corporatist forest policy still was for our sample of jurisdictions and tried to judge
whether or not a participatory NFP process was meaningful to possibly break up and
reform closed decision-making structures in forest policy. If we judge this to be meaningful
for a sample case, we try to assess to what extent the NFP was successful in doing so. This
would then give a rough and indirect but nonetheless useful indication of consensuality of
forest policy in that jurisdiction.
We have based our expertise on information about whether and when a NFP process
was started, and if it was led by the forest administration or some other administrative unit,
possibly the environmental protection agency. In the latter case, we would assume that
decision-making in forest policy already follows a more consensual approach that allows
the integration of nature conservation and forest production viewpoints. We also tried to
assess whether a NFP was a truly iterative process and how the NFP influenced forest
policy making in the country or sub-national jurisdiction, particularly by resulting in a
policy document that was eventually endorsed by the government.
With respect to decentralization, an assessment of the degree of federalism in the
political system in general is only of limited use in our context, because forest policy often
follows its own procedures. We have evaluated, based also on information provided by the
‘qualitative indicators’’ reports of Forest Europe and UNECE/FAO (2011b), whether the
authority to formulate policies was shared between the federal and the sub-national gov-
ernments in a country, and which administrative level had the main responsibility for forest
policy implementation and enforcement.
In the following sections, both the dependent and the independent variables are pre-
sented in rather crude ordinal and nominal scales. Based on a qualitative comparison, we
assess the relative importance of different structural and political system characteristics on
the degree of formalization of integrative nature conservation. We opted for a qualitative
assessment as stricter interval scale measurement and would have been beyond the pos-
sibilities of this pilot study.
Results
Characterisation of the dependent variable: formalization of integrative nature
conservation in forests
Table 3preserves the differentiation between instruments, compensation and common
sense rules but aggregates for the different dimensions of nature conservation in forests
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Table 3 Integrative Nature Conservation in Forests: Regulation
Switzerland (Group A) Baden–Wu
¨rttemberg (Group A) Piedmont (Group A)
ABCDA B C DABCD
Forest stand structure *** *** ** **** ** **** **** * **** **** ** ***
Tree species composition *** **** * **** **** *** ** ** **** *** * ***
Old-growth phases/dead wood *** **** * **** *** * ** ** *** *** * ***
Natural rejuvenation phases ** **** **** **** **** * *** ** *** **** **** ****
Target species/biotopes **** **** * **** **** * *** ** **** ** ** **
Other **** *** * **** ** * ** *** *** *** ****
Austria (Group B) France (Group B) Croatia (Group B)
ABCDABCDABCD
Forest stand structure ** ** **** **** ** * *** *** **** *** **** **
Tree species composition ** ** **** **** *** * ** *** **** **** **** ****
Old-growth phases/dead wood * ** **** *** *** * * *** *** * *** **
Natural rejuvenation phases *** *** **** *** * * **** **** **** **** **** ****
Target species/biotopes * ** **** *** **** * **** *** **** **** * ****
Other *** * **** **** **** * **** *** **** * *** **
Finland (Group B) Netherlands (Group C) Flanders (Group C)
ABCDABCDABCD
Forest stand structure ** ** * **** **** *** * **** **** ** * ***
Tree Species Composition **** * * **** *** * ** **** **** *** * **
Old-growth phases/dead wood *** * * **** ** ** ** **** **** * ** ***
Natural rejuvenation phases **** *** * *** * * * **** *** *** *** **
Target species/biotopes **** *** * **** *** * * **** **** * * ****
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Table 3 continued
Finland (Group B) Netherlands (Group C) Flanders (Group C)
ABCDABCDABCD
Other **** * * **** **** * **** **** **** * ** ***
This table is directly derived from Table 2. The aggregation first computed a mean score per thematic cluster (assuming the underlying ordinal scale as an interval scale) but
then again simplifying the result to an ordinal classification. The latter step was done differently for each thematic cluster, considering the number of items involved. The
ordinal classification reads as follows
A: **** On average formalized instruments, * on average non-formalized instruments
B: **** Many compensation schemes, * few compensation schemes
C: **** Many common sense rules, * few common sense rules
D: **** Few exceptions for private forests, * lots of exceptions for private forests
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Table 4 Variables supporting qualitative judgements concerning the explanatory concepts employed
(except problem severity)
CH B–W Pie AT FR HR FI NL Fla
Socio-economic characteristics of
forests
d
% of total forest area owned by
private actors
32 36 72 82 76 22 72 49 75
% of private forest area owned
by small private owners
(\10 ha)
70
c
70
k
(17)
i
11 35 97
e
–42*70
h
Average size of private
ownership in ha
1.5 1.3 (5.7)
i
14 3.7 0.5
f
30 6 1
% of total forest area owned by
municipalities
66 40
l
(26)
j
3
b
14 0
g
21310
h
Forest area as per cent of total
area of jurisdiction (%)
m
33 38 37 48 28 44 76 11 11
Economic importance forestry
sector (ISIC/NACE 02): %
GDP
m
0.1 0.2 0.3 0.5 0.2 0.4 2.2 \0.01 \0.01
?wood and paper products
(ISIC/NACE 02/20/21): %
GDP
m
1.1 2 0.7 1.1 5.1 0.5
Decentralisation of national forest
policy
n
??0?
o
–––?? ??
Decision-making authority Shared Shared Shared Shared Central Central Central Sub-
nat.
Sub-
nat.
Implementation responsibility Sub-
nat.
Sub-
nat.
Shared Sub-
nat.
Shared Central Central Sub-
nat.
Sub-
nat.
Corporatism versus consensuality
in forest policy
Degree of corporatism in forest
policy
????? ??? ––
Degree of conflictive decision-
making
–0––?? ? 0–
Broad participatory venues
other than NFP?
?0––– – ???
Characteristics of NFP process
rxwpt u s qv
Start of NFP process (or similar) 2001 1998 (2008) 2003 2006 2002 1998 2004 1994
NFP process led by forest
administration
No Yes (No) Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
NFP process influenced forest
policy-making
Yes No (Yes) No No n.a. Yes No No
NFP process led to revision of
forest law?
Yes No (No) No No No Yes Yes No
NFP established as an iterative
process
Yes Yes (Yes) Yes No Yes Yes Yes No
Policy document available Yes Yes (Yes) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Biodivers Conserv
123
Table 4 continued
CH B–W Pie AT FR HR FI NL Fla
Policy document endorsed by government Yes Yes (Yes) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
a
If not otherwise indicated, figures are taken from UNECE/FAO, MCPFE and CEPF (2007). The ordinal scales in this
table are 5-point scales running from ‘‘-’ (very centralized/very weak degree) to ‘‘0’’ (shared/neutral) and ‘??’ (very
decentralized/very strong degree). At some places in the table a qualitative ordinal scale is implemented as the result of a
qualitative assessment
b
Weiss (1998)
c
Bra
¨ndli (2010, p. 254)
d
Finnish statistical yearbook of forestry (2013)
e
Glu
¨ck et al. (2011, p. 72)
f
(Posavec et al. 2011, p. 110)
g
Croatian Forests Ltd., 2006. S
ˇumskogospodarska Osnova—Ured
¯ajni zapisnik (General forest management plan).
Department for forest management, Directorate of Croatian Forests Ltd
h
Vandekerkhove (2013); the figure for the % of private forest area that are owned by small private owners (\10 ha) is an
estimation since no reliable data is available
i
There figures are only available at the national level: Italian National Institute of Statistics, census 2005; 2000, p. 104);
figure for 1995: 11 %
j
FRA (2010, p. 11)
k
Spielmann et al. (2013,p.6)
l
Spielmann et al. (2013,p.6)
m
For reasons of comparability, the figures are taken from Forest Europe and UNECE/F AO (2011b) and are valid for 2008,
except for Piedmont (http://www.infc.it), Baden–Wu
¨rttemberg (Spielmann et al. 2013), Flanders (Vandekerkhove 2013).
For France, figures from national statistics suggest that the forestry sector is economically more important (MAAPRAT-
IFN 2011 and French National Institute for Statistic, 2005/pers. com. By A. Niedzwiedz). In Austria, due to scattered and
disperse parcels of privately owned forests precise data are very difficult to survey. The official National Forest Inventory
data show 53 % forest properties smaller than 200 ha
n
Apart from our own judgement, the information is taken from the reports of Forest Europe/UNECE/FAO as follows: AT:
Prem (2010), BE: Laurent (2010), HRV: Gregurovic
´(2010), FI: Veltheim (2010), FR: Chaudoron (2010), DE: Schmitz
(2010), IT: Colletti (2010) and Venzi (2008), NL: Busink (2010), CH: Du
¨rr (2010)
o
Austria special case because forest policy is centralized and nature conservation decentralized
p
Prem (2010) and Voitleithner (2004)
q
Busink (2010) and Schanz and Ottitsch (2004)
r
Du
¨rr (2010) and Zimmermann and Zingerli (2004)
s
Veltheim (2010) and Ha
¨nninen et al. (2004)
t
Buttoud (2004) and Chaudron (2010)
u
Contrary to what is indicated by Gregurovic
´(2010), although a formal NFP process was planned in Croatia, it was never
officially started. However, the government gathers forest experts and representatives from various stakeholder organi-
sations for consultations on special issues concerning the forest law on a regular basis. Hence, there is kind of an iterative
and participatory consultation process, although not officially a NFP process (Weiland 2012, Lovric
´and Lovric
´2013)
v
There is no national forest policy in Belgium as Forest policy is exclusively in the responsibility of the regions. On the
national level, only an official consultation board exists (e.g., for formulation of national standpoints). For Flanders, the
forest policy process is incorporated in the five-yearly ‘environmental policy plan’. Within this framework ‘forest action
plans’ can be formulated, incorporating specific forest policy goals. Legislative and policy initiatives are always submitted
to an advisory board (MINA-council) representing all important stakeholders (land-owners, conservation NGO’s,). In
this sense, the procedures are aimed at stakeholder participation and consultation. Flanders does not even have a specific
explicit forest policy document because the policy is continuously and iteratively developed Lust et al. (2001,2004)
w
Only information on the National Forest Programme is available, because according to Cullotta and Maetzke (2008),
Piedmont has never worked on a regional forest plan. We do not consider the first national Forest Plan from 1987 as a
National Forest Programme document (Secco et al. 2011b; Colletti 2010; Carbone and Venzi 2004)
x
According to Spielmann et al. (2013), the forest programme process in Baden-Wu
¨rttemberg was ceased before a final
document could be approved. For the National Forest Programme of Germany, compare Schmitz (2010) and Elsasser and
Pretzsch (2004)
Biodivers Conserv
123
(forest stand structure, tree species composition, etc.). This allows judging whether formal
instruments are accompanied by corresponding compensation schemes or whether they
might be ‘‘substituted’’ by broadly obeyed common sense rules. We also included a column
that lists whether or not private forest owners are given many exceptions from these rules.
We refrained from computing an overall score for each case, though.
Among the cases of group A, integrative nature conservation seems to be least for-
malized in Switzerland. However, Switzerland is remarkably strong with the number of
compensation schemes that have apparently been set up for many dimensions of integrative
nature conservation (Angst 2012). Common sense rules are not particularly important.
Most strikingly, however, private and public forests are mostly treated equivalent. There
are some exceptions for private forests in Piedmont but otherwise, relatively numerous
compensation schemes are supporting the rather high level of formalized integrative nature
conservation rules. Although Baden-Wu
¨rttemberg has also established quite a number of
formalized rules, it relies on quite some exceptions for private forests but it is lacking
corresponding strength in compensation schemes.
Among the cases of group B, while we found many formalized instruments for Finland,
this country is not particularly strong with respect to the number of compensation schemes,
which could be identified only for natural rejuvenation and target species. Remarkably
also, common sense rules are not so important and there are not many exceptions for
private forests. France has somewhat less strictly formalized nature conservation rules,
particularly also with respect to rejuvenation, and is particularly limited as far as com-
pensation schemes are concerned. However, common sense rules seem to compensate at
least less formalized regulation regarding rejuvenation and there are some exceptions for
private forests. The latter aspect is not so different in Austria, although otherwise, the two
countries seem to differ rather much: integrative nature conservation in Austria is not really
formalized or subsidized but is embedded much more in common sense rules. In Croatia,
due to the latest round of reforms in nature conservation laws (Weiland 2010), the for-
malization of nature conservation in forests is rather advanced, compensation schemes are
well developed and so are common sense rules. However, quite some exceptions for
private forests can be made out, particularly regarding forest stand structure and old-
growth phases and deadwood.
As for the group C, integrative nature conservation is not strongly formalized in the
Netherlands, especially not regarding old-growth phases and rejuvenation. Compensation
schemes are not very common and also common sense rules are not that widespread,
although there exists a code of conduct provided by the forest owners’ association, that is
widely accepted and obeyed (Bosschap 2012). Flanders on the other hand, introduced
particularly strongly formalized rules that are accompanied by some compensation
schemes. Differentiation (or lower ambition levels) exists for private forests, though and
common sense rules are not highly relevant.
Measuring structural and institutional characteristics
In the following section, weassess four potential explanatory characteristics ofthe jurisdictions
under study. Most of the corresponding comparative information is collected in Table 4.
Perceived problem severity
In all cases under study, governments have taken up biodiversity issues on the political
agenda, not at least due to some pressure by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. A
Biodivers Conserv
123
recent Eurobarometer Survey (Flash Eurobarometer 379 2013) revealed that ‘‘the decline
and disappearance of forests’’ is perceived by 88–99 per cent of the surveyed as ‘‘very’’ to
‘fairly’’ serious problem in European countries.
Hence, what appears to differ more than the perception of the severity of the problem by
the wider public, is the degree of conflict among stakeholders about possible remedies
(Winkel and Sotirov 2011). Unfortunately, there are no comprehensive comparative
assessments of stakeholder conflict across European countries available. We thus refrain
from explicitly referring to problem severity but implicitly take this aspect into account
with our assessment of consensuality in forest policy further below.
Socio-economic importance and structure of forestry
Obviously, ownership is one structural characteristic that is of outmost importance for our
research question and it partly explains also saliency of forestry sector in the respective
jurisdiction.
As listed in Table 4, in Switzerland and Baden–Wu
¨rttemberg (group A), private forests
are rather small on average (only the national level average size is known for Italy/
Piedmont), but not extremely small as in some other cases and private ownership itself is
not dominating except in Piedmont, which exhibits more than 70 % of private forest.
Particularly for Switzerland—and to a lesser extent also Baden-Wu
¨rttemberg—the high
share of municipality forest has to be noted, while for Italy, municipality forests are not
uncommon and we thus assume the share of municipality forest to be significant also in
Piedmont. All three jurisdictions are otherwise rather similar, for example with respect to
the size of the forest area and the relatively low share of the GDP the forestry sector is
contributing.
Of group B, Austria, Finland and France exhibit more than 70 % of private forest, while
for Croatia this share is much lower (Table 4). In France, more than one-third of the private
forests are smaller than 10 ha. Small-scale private forests are less common in Austria and
Finland, though. France has also significant shares of municipality forest (Tissot and
Kohler 2013), while we observed very small shares of municipality owned forests for
Finland, Croatia, and Austria. In these latter countries, public forests tend to belong to the
state or the provinces (Pulla et al. 2013). The forestry sector is reasonably large in all these
countries except France. Finland clearly is the extreme end of the gradient in our sample
with respect to the economic importance of the forestry sector (4 % of the GDP) and the
size of the forest area (76 % of the country’s surface area).
With respect to the structure of their forestry sector, Flanders and the Netherlands
(group C) are quite different. In Flanders, the share of private forest lies above 70 % and
more than one third of the private forests are smaller than 10 ha, while in the Netherlands,
on average, forest ownerships are larger and only about 50 % of the forests are privately
owned. For public forests, the share of community-owned forest is much lower in Flanders
than in the Netherlands. However, what the two cases do have in common is a very low
forest cover, in a highly populated and industrialized area, making the share of wood
production to the GDP virtually negligible, and often subordinate to other functions
(recreation, nature conservation).
Decentralization of forest policy
Our assessment of the degree of decentralization of forest policy is taken from various
reports of Forest Europe/UNECE/FAO (as indicated in Table 4) together with our own
Biodivers Conserv
123
judgement. Correspondingly, as can be read from Table 4, in Italy (Carbone and Venzi
2004; Venzi 2008), Switzerland (von Arb and Zimmermann 2004) and Germany, forest
policy was decentralized, to a similar degree. We also found that similarly to their general
political system, forest policy was more centralized in Finland, France and Croatia,
although there are first attempts to organize forest policy in a more decentralized manner:
in Finland, regional forest programs have been formulated since the late 1990s (Saarikoski
et al. 2012) and in France, ‘‘forest territory charters’’, e.g., regional forest development
programmes, have recently started (Buttoud et al. 2011). In Austria, while forest policy is
somewhat but not entirely centralized, nature conservation policy is delegated to the sub-
national level, which causes problems of accountability with respect to biodiversity con-
servation in forests. Finally, decentralization was particularly strong in Belgium and the
Netherlands.
Consensuality in forest policy making
For most of the jurisdictions in our sample, forest policy had been traditionally rather
corporatist and therefore a NFP certainly made sense. However, not in many of our cases
we could observe very successful NFP processes.
In Switzerland, Germany and Italy (group A), the forest sector was oriented towards
sustainable timber production quite early and elements of corporatist decision-making still
exist in the forest policies of these countries (Winkel and Sotirov 2011; Zingerli et al.
2004; Zimmermann and Zingerli 2004; Carbone and Venzi 2004). In Germany, a national
forest programme process started early, proceeded as an iterative process and was
improved over time in terms of the participative venues it provided (Elsasser and Pretzsch
2004). Nonetheless, it was not fully successful, as it did not resolve yet fundamental
conflicts between timber production and nature conservation interests (Winkel and Sotirov
2011). Forest policy in Baden–Wu
¨rttemberg struggles with similar problems, although it
was leading within Germany by providing the first regional forest programme process. This
process was set up as a long-term commitment, but it had to be cancelled prematurely,
again because of the conflict between forest production and nature conservation (Spiel-
mann et al. 2013).
Similarly, in Switzerland, an extensive participatory effort resulted in a national forest
programme that was, however, not endorsed by the government (at least not immediately)
and did not result in a major revision of the forest law, as initially planned (Zingerli et al.
2004; Zimmermann and Zingerli 2004).
For Italy, the relatively positive assessment of the consensus-orientation of the national
forest program process is owed to the ‘‘concertazione’’ approach that resulted in a rela-
tively advanced participatory approach (Carbone and Venzi 2004; Secco et al. 2011b,
p. 109ff). The integration of national agricultural and environmental policy and, as a
consequence, of the corresponding branches of the national administration, is actually
rather strong, although formally, environmental conservation and agriculture/forestry fall
under the responsibility of different ministries. The forest sector is thus integrated into
broader environmental planning processes, which is partly also due to its long-standing
marginalisation (Carbone and Venzi 2004, p. 159; Colletti 2010). The degree of consensus-
orientation that has been detected at the national level cannot be confirmed for Piedmont as
an Italian province, however. Here, forest policy decision-making processes are rather
traditionally corporatist and not very participatory. Piedmont has been a laggard when it
comes to the definition of a regional forest programme, and it seems that this is not going to
change very soon (Cullotta and Maetzke 2008).
Biodivers Conserv
123
For the cases of group B, it is also questionable whether the NFP processes had been
very successful. According to Weiss (2004), Austria’s forest policy institutions are known
to be still narrowly corporatist. Nonetheless the national forest programme can be con-
sidered exemplary as it has probably started an iterative policy process that eventually
might bear effects (compare Hogl 2000 for a similar argument). So far, however, he
literature concludes that it has not (yet) led to a breakup of conventional modes of deci-
sion-making (Voitleithner 2004; Hogl et al. 2009).
In France, the situation is similar: traditionally, decision-making is top-down and
conflictive, and the recent NFP, although prepared in a broad participatory process, is
unlikely to change that very soon (Buttoud 2004).
2
A notable exception is Finland, because
it started its NFP process rather early (in the 1990s) by establishing it as an iterative
process (Primmer 2011; Rantala 2008). Since then, the formerly highly corporatist struc-
ture of forest policy has been gradually altered and transformed into a more consensual
policy-making process (Ha
¨nninen et al. 2004).
Croatia has started a policy dialogue with national stakeholders in 2002 with the
assistance of the World Bank. Although guided by NFP principles, the only strategic
document that it had produced was the National Forest Policy and Strategy from 2003
(Gregurovic
´2010), which was not followed by an implementation document, budgets or
responsibilities and has no follow-up (Vuletic et al. 2008). However, the government
gathers forest experts and representatives from various stakeholder organisations for
consultations on special issues concerning the forest law on a regular basis. Hence, there is
kind of an iterative process of participatory consultation, although not officially a NFP
process. Since in Croatia, decision-making traditions are rather top-down and corporatist,
the existing consultation is still merely informal and restricted to rather closed circles
(Weiland 2012).
Flanders is probably the only case in our sample for which a National (or in that case
Regional) Forest Programme was not very meaningful. A forest programme at the national
level was not relevant, since forest policy authority is exclusively allocated to the regions.
In Flanders, NFP-like policy documents were elaborated rather early (Lust et al. 2001).
However, because a real NFP process would have established redundant decision-making
structures and procedures to what existed already and because the existing institutions and
consultation venues were functioning well in Flanders, there was little need for an explicit
forest policy document, as its forest policy was already continuously and iteratively
developed based on broad consultation (Lust et al. 2004).
The rather consensual organization of forest policy has different roots in the Nether-
lands, though: because the forests in the Netherlands are not geared towards timber pro-
duction, forest policy had been ‘‘de-institutionalized’’ and ‘‘almost entirely’’ integrated into
nature conservation policy (Veenman et al. 2009, p. 202). Hence a real NFP process never
took place in the Netherlands. Rather, the Dutch Biodiversity Programme refers to forest-
related nature conservation issues and integrates also other forest-related policy documents
produced since the end of the last decade (Busink 2010; van der Maaten-Theunissen and
Schuck 2013).
2
Participatory policy making is becoming more common in France, though. The ‘‘Grenelle de l’Envi-
ronnement’’ that had been negotiated in 2008 under Sarkozy’s presidency (2007–2012) had already brought
together environmentalists and the forestry sector and resulted in the integration of biodiversity goals in
management plans for pubic forest as well as corresponding committments by the owners of private forests.
A participatory process is currently also applied to improve the reporting on Sustainable Forest Management
indicators.
Biodivers Conserv
123
Discussion: determinants of integrative nature conservation in different jurisdictions
Consensual decision making processes and a strong private forestry sector
The importance of public ownership and municipality forests in Switzerland has, according
to Weiss (2004), prevented strong corporatist structures and facilitated the integration of
competing objectives for forest policy during the last decades. To some extent, this is also
true for Baden-Wu
¨rttemberg and hence, it would be mainly ownership structure as well as
the comparatively lower importance of the forest sector that can explain the marginally
more formalized integrative nature conservation policy in these two cases as compared for
example to most cases of group B.
However, conflict with respect to integrative nature conservation remains in the group A
jurisdictions. This is because the private and the public sector alike had always aimed at
developing sustainable forest management. So far, forestry had thus not put too much
pressure on biodiversity in forests and it hence is more difficult to convince forest owners
about policy reforms that would prescribe something in a rigid bill rather than leave it as a
rather implicit and therefore flexible norm of the private sector.
Comparing Switzerland with two sub-national entities is problematic with respect to
decentralization. As von Arb and Zimmermann (2004) argue, though, a back and forth of
competence delegation has helped to build a strong national forest policy that also takes
into account nature conservation innovations from the sub-national jurisdictions in
Switzerland.
From the comparison of the cases of group A (Switzerland, Baden-Wu
¨rttemberg and
Piedmont), we can thus conclude that in these relatively consensual jurisdictions, a strong
private forestry sector tends to prevent integrative nature conservation, as particularly
compensation is less and exceptions for private actors are more common in Baden–
Wu
¨rttemberg than in the two remaining jurisdictions with weaker forestry sectors. Swit-
zerland, with its high shares of public and particularly municipality forests lacks exceptions
for private forests while Piedmont, which has the weakest forestry sector in this group,
rates relatively good on all four dimensions.
3
Strong forestry sectors and rather corporatist decision-making
In Austria, private ownership is dominating the forestry structure, and the forests are rather
large on average, which would suggest lower barriers to policy reforms. While in the
mountain areas, common property forests are quite important (up to 40 % of the forests),
they are owned by agrarian associations, not the municipalities. State actors have thus less
influence and forest owners are generally more reluctant to really engage in compromise
seeking and to open up corporatist decision-making processes. Reforms end up to be more
challenging due to corporatist decision-making institutions (Weiss 2004). In addition, since
nature conservation and forest policy are not decentralized to similar degrees, it is much
more difficult for nature conservation to be integrated into forest policy since this would
require close cross-level coordination. Hence, policy reforms remain difficult, despite an
3
Italy has a strong tradition of limitations to the use of forests for public services (particularly regarding
erosion control and landscape values, implemented by national laws, such as the Serpieri Forest Law of 1923
or the Glasso Law on Nature and Landscape of 1986) and this may also be a reason for the existence of a
larger set of rules. While the Regional Forest Law of Piedmont does indeed list many mandatory limitations,
they usually imply insufficient thresholds to really guarantee the conservation of biodiversity, and they have
thus been strongly criticized by forest and environmental scientists alike.
Biodivers Conserv
123
exemplary degree of participatory governance that was provided with the NFP-pro-
cess (Quadt et al. 2013).
Similarly, in France, forest policy is still rather top-down and conflictive, despite more
recent developments towards a more participatory bottom-up approach, while forests are
largely in private hands and rather small on average. Hence, the hurdles for integrative
nature conservation in forests are high. Instead, we observe exceptionally strong common
sense rules in both countries which might compensate for the lacking formalization of
integrative nature conservation rules.
In Croatia, the public enterprises are dominating the forestry sector. Thus, the appar-
ently more formalized regulation with respect to integrative nature conservation is most
probably less the result of a bottom-up participatory process and institutional reform but
rather results from outside pressures (initiated by the accession to the EU) and from the
political will in the government to comply.
4
Although private forests in Croatia are
extremely small on average, the share of private forests is not particularly large and hence
the respective political reforms seem to be possible due to the strong top-down organi-
zation of the forestry sector. Still, the private forest owners receive quite some exceptions.
Earlier, Finland’s structure of forest policy had been dominated by private forest owners
and forest industry representatives. Since 1990, however, consensus seeking became more
important an involved an increasing number of stakeholders. As a consequence, the bio-
diversity aspect was integrated into forest legislation over 15 years ago (Lier and Par-
viainen 2013). A new forest law entered into force at the beginning 2014. While the new
law stipulates stricter requirements for biodiversity protection, the formulation of forest
management methods is very low, the main principle being—as in earlier forest laws—that
after regeneration cutting, the new forest should be created during a certain period
depending on tree species and soil conditions. The freedom of forest owners to select the
management alternatives in their own forests has thus widened. One reason for this revi-
sion was the insight that the preferences of the private forest owners are becoming more
and more multifaceted. Formalization of integrative nature conservation is thus stronger in
Finland than expected, notably also due to the Forest Biodiversity Programme for Southern
Finland (METSO), which subsidizes voluntary forest protection contracts (10–20 years)
between private forest owners and the state since 2008. Otherwise, however, financial
incentives are not found in all domains of integrative nature conservation policies. Forest
policy is thus rather consensual in Finland and under the assumption that conflict about the
necessity to formalize corresponding forest management rules is not particularly strong,
stronger formalization has not resulted in many exceptions for private forests.
It appears from the comparison o the cases of the group B (Austria, France, Croatia and
Finland) that the more important the forestry sector is, the more it is dominated by private
and well organized actors and the more these actors insist on centralized and corporative
decision-making structures, the more difficult it is to implement integrative nature con-
servation as formalized and informal rules. The impact of the economic structure of private
forestry is less obvious from this comparison: despite a smaller-scale forestry sector,
integrative nature conservation is stronger in France (and compensation schemes none-
theless less common) than in Austria. Formalized conservation rules, compensation
4
Clearly, these reforms are to some extent motivated by the planned accession of Croatia to the European
Union, which has provided an extra momentum (Bo
¨rzel and Buzogany 2010). A more comprehensive
analysis would have to look also into the implementation of these rules, because it has been found that in
transition countries, a high level of formal pre-accession compliance is usually followed by low level of
practical compliance after the accession to the EU (Jacoby 1999, McDermott et al. 2010: 349).
Biodivers Conserv
123
schemes and lacking exceptions also point to relatively strong integrative nature conser-
vation in Croatia, although its private forests are very small on average. However, it would
be prudent to observe these ‘progressive’ rules in the light of a decoupling of formal and
practical integrative nature protection, which is a parallel to the decoupling of formal and
practical compliance to international commitments in the case of Easter Europe’s envi-
ronmental governance (Jacoby 1999).
Consensus oriented systems with a relatively weak forestry sector
As far as group C of clearly consensus oriented and strongly decentralized jurisdictions
with a weak forestry sector is concerned, the differences (stronger rules and more com-
pensation but also more exceptions for private actors in Flanders) are difficult to explain
solely with the information contained in Table 4.
The two jurisdictions seem very similar from a distance: in the Netherlands (Veenman
et al. 2009) and Flanders (Vandekerkhove 2013) the forest administration is integrated into
the environment and nature conservation sector of the public administration. In both
regions, the local economy is not dependent on timber production and private owners
whose main objective is wood production are a small minority (Van Herzele and Van
Gossum 2009; Van Gossum and De Maeyer 2006). Although there is quite some mistrust
towards government regulations (Serbruyns and Luyssaert 2006; Van Herzele and Aarts
2013), state programs for nature conservation are negotiated, sometimes adapted and
eventually accepted, and hence the degree of conflict remains low (Vandekerkhove 2013).
Under such circumstances, a tradition of consensual and participatory decision-making can
be an asset for integrative nature conservation in forest policy.
However, all indicators of Table 4that differ between these two cases suggest more
formalized integrative nature conservation in the Netherlands, particularly the smaller
private forestry sector with larger units on average. However, what also differs is that in
Flanders the forest sector itself is already organized in a consensual manner. Hence, one
might conclude that forest policy in Flanders had managed to incorporate nature conser-
vation aspects rather early and to develop them in a continuously whereas in the Neth-
erlands, it is rather the nature conservation sector that puts some pressure on forestry but
with limited success.
Limitations of the study
Before we proceed to the conclusion, it is worthwhile to state three limitations of our pilot
study: First, for our comparative analysis we have chosen jurisdictions that are vested with
the main authority for forest policy and we have collected information about integrative
nature conservation policies at the level of these jurisdictions exclusively. Ideally, we
would be able to measure integrative nature conservation rules at all levels of government
for all cases, but this was beyond our possibilities for this paper. Second, we have not
examined the relative strength of integrative nature conservation policy but only its for-
malization. While it would be interesting to extend the research into this direction—taking
McDermott et al. 2008 as an example—it is a significant complication for the comparative
assessment. Lastly, our investigation into the consensuality of forest policy in different
jurisdictions remains rather coarse and based on a literature review. Clearly, conceptual-
ising and measuring consensuality in forest policy more explicitly would be an important
next step.
Biodivers Conserv
123
Conclusions, implications for forest policy, and suggestions for further research
This study was meant as a first attempt to provide a framework of analysis to compare the
formalization of integrative nature conservation in forests and to gain some insights into
possible determinants.
Not very surprisingly, our analysis confirms that more explicit regulation for integrative
nature conservation in forests is less likely in cases with a strong and important forestry sector.
The effect of the ownership structure (number of small forests) is less obvious, though. A
strong forestry sector is more likely to oppose and hamper clearly formalized management
rules and restrictions or to achieve compensation in consensual forest policy structure. If the
forestry sector is weak though, consensuality rather seems to support formalized biodiversity
conservation rules. However, specific case-specific circumstances may result in exceptions to
this overall conclusion (e.g. succes of the METSO programme in Finland).
A next step in this research should not only be to extend the list of countries and sub-
national jurisdictions examined. It would also be useful to develop a method to compre-
hensively measure integrative nature conservation rules at all levels of government and to
comparatively assess also the stringency of regulation as well as the amount of compen-
sation, in order to allow more quantitative analyses. Our study has revealed that there is
potential in inquiring into the effects of consensuality in forest policy. More systematic
research would be needed, though, to explore whether consensual institutions can really
support long-term reforms which might result in less conflictive policy making.
Acknowledgments France We are grateful to C. Biache (ONF, France), M. Gosselin (Irstea, France), S.
Groualle (MAAF, France), P. Beaudesson (CNPF, France) for helping us filling the assessment tables and
subsequent informative discussions on integration at a national level. Switzerland We are grateful to Kurt
Bollmann (WSL) and Anton Bu
¨rgi (WSL) for giving valuable information about the organisation of nature
conservation in Swiss forests.
Country reports of the INTEGRATE I project
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... Forests provide a number of key resources such as timber, biodiversity and water sources, and sustainable forest management (SFM) is required to maintain the multiple functions of forest landscapes (Schulz et al., 2014;Baral et al., 2016;Dai et al., 2017). Forest management plans are generally established to achieve SFM by governing forest management and operational practices (e.g., harvesting methods, rotation period). ...
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