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Forest management and the environment; worldwide trends in legislation and institutional arrangements

by Mayda, J.
Publisher: 1986ISSN: 0378-1127.Subject(s): MANEJO FORESTAL | LEGISLACION | POLITICAS | ADMINISTRACION | LEGISLATION | POLICIES | ADMINISTRATION | LEGISLATION | POLITIQUE | ADMINISTRATION In: Forest Ecology and Management (Países Bajos) v. 14(4) p. 241-257Summary: A comparative overview of national laws and institutions in the fields covered by the topic of this paper reveals a great variety of forms and arrangements. However, there are striking similarities among the various contries in terms of outdated concepts and lack of functional integration. International and global legislation deals with the forest sector only tangentially, and defers to national sovereignty over natural resources. In sum, this extensive body of norms and procedures - the what is - does not provide any sufficiently comprehensive and adaptable, normative and operational models nor even a base for generalizations, on which to draw, for the purpose of constructing such a model. The task, therefore, is not one of describing and informing, but of taking a fresh look in the perspective of what ought to be and what can be. In other words, the task is one of policy analysis. The conceptual model discussed here is based on the premise that policies for the management of natural resources and environmental protection need to be shaped according to "the nature of nature". The underlying conception is that of eco[systemic] management, in a variety of applications, mostly in the context of society as a "human ecosystem". The model is characterized by a shift of emphasis from structure to process, that is, from normative and institutional forms to a continuous development and adaptation of policies for ecomanagement, whatever the level or scope. This approach enhances the development of local-specific, flexible legislative and institutional responses to the problems; it offers a superior, alternative to the "cook-book" approach - the transfer of external models which, by not being organic, have often overlooked important local social parameters and exceeded the administrative "carrying capacity" of the receiving system. A flexible, policy-oriented model has implications also for the proper understanding of the relationship between data generators and decision makers, as well as a regard to the quality and processing of knowledge for optimized decision making under the normal conditions of uncertainty.
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A comparative overview of national laws and institutions in the fields covered by the topic of this paper reveals a great variety of forms and arrangements. However, there are striking similarities among the various contries in terms of outdated concepts and lack of functional integration. International and global legislation deals with the forest sector only tangentially, and defers to national sovereignty over natural resources. In sum, this extensive body of norms and procedures - the what is - does not provide any sufficiently comprehensive and adaptable, normative and operational models nor even a base for generalizations, on which to draw, for the purpose of constructing such a model. The task, therefore, is not one of describing and informing, but of taking a fresh look in the perspective of what ought to be and what can be. In other words, the task is one of policy analysis. The conceptual model discussed here is based on the premise that policies for the management of natural resources and environmental protection need to be shaped according to "the nature of nature". The underlying conception is that of eco[systemic] management, in a variety of applications, mostly in the context of society as a "human ecosystem". The model is characterized by a shift of emphasis from structure to process, that is, from normative and institutional forms to a continuous development and adaptation of policies for ecomanagement, whatever the level or scope. This approach enhances the development of local-specific, flexible legislative and institutional responses to the problems; it offers a superior, alternative to the "cook-book" approach - the transfer of external models which, by not being organic, have often overlooked important local social parameters and exceeded the administrative "carrying capacity" of the receiving system. A flexible, policy-oriented model has implications also for the proper understanding of the relationship between data generators and decision makers, as well as a regard to the quality and processing of knowledge for optimized decision making under the normal conditions of uncertainty.

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