International Forest Politics: Intergovernmental Failure, Non-Governmental Success?

In Steinar Andresen, Elin Lerum Boasson and Geir H√łnneland (eds), International Environmental Agreements: An Introduction. London/New York, Routledge, 2012, pp. 151-169.

This chapter first explains how deforestation and forest degradation are grave local, national, and global environmental problems. Forests contribute to the global public good of biodiversity conservation. Forests provide a number of ecosystem services, including wildlife habitats, erosion control, water filtration, and carbon sequestration. Forests can also be harvested to provide a diversity of private goods such as timber, rubber, nuts, and fruits. The misalignment of public and private interest has impeded environmental protection efforts and resulted in deforestation and global forest degradation. The chapter next details the evolution of international cooperation on forest policies and how the failure to agree on a global forest convention resulted in the formation of non-state forest certification schemes. These schemes, based on market support rather than traditional public authority, have emerged in recent years to become an innovative venue for standard-setting and governance in the environmental realm.