Tag Archives: nature

A practice based approach to forest governance

Bas Arts, Jelle Behagel, Esther Turnhout, Jessica de Koning, Séverine van Bommel, 2014, Forest Policy and Economics

‘Forest governance’ refers to new modes of regulation in the forest sector, such as decentralized, community based and market-oriented policy instruments and management approaches. Its main theoretical basis consists of two mainstream models: rational choice and neo-institutionalism. Since these models rest upon problematic conceptualisations of ‘the social’, this paper proposes a so-called ‘practice based approach’, which offers a comprehensive understanding of social dynamics related to trees, forests and biodiversity. It tries to go beyond someof the old dualisms in social theory, such as subject and object, human and nature and agency and structure. Three sensitising concepts – situated agency, logic of practice and performativity – are introduced and their application is illustrated by a number of examples from forest governance practices: joint forest management in India, decentralized forest management in Bolivia and the construction of biodiversity datasets in Europe. The paper also addresses some of the criticisms the approach has received.

The promise of practice: the value of the practice approach for forest and nature governance studies

Jelle Behagel, Bas Arts, Severine van Bommel, Jessica de Koning, Esther Turnhout, 2013, In: Arts, B., Behagel, J., Bommel, S. van, Koning, J. de, Turnhout, E. Forest and nature governance: a practice based approach. Dordrecht: Springer.

A practice based approach is new to studies of forest and nature governance and fairly new to governance studies in general. In this chapter, we outline the promise of such an approach for such studies. The chapter is in two parts. Firstly, a number of conclusions are drawn from the preceding individual chapters. They relate to: (1) the types of forest and nature governance practices that can be empirically distinguished; (2) the way the sensitising concepts of logic of practice, situated agency, and performativity have been used to move beyond mainstream governance approaches; and (3) the specific characteristics of a practice based approach to forest and nature governance. The second part of the chapter discusses the academic and societal value of the practice based approach as offered in this book, firstly by comparing this approach to an interpretative approach in governance studies and addressing similarities and differences, and then by discussing whether the practice based approach can contribute to policy making and steering social change. We conclude that a practice based approach can convincingly address some points that mainstream accounts of governance cannot, but only if certain long-held convictions about what governance really is are abandoned.

Prelude to practice: introducing a practice based approach to forest and nature governance

Bas Arts, Jelle Behagel, Severine van Bommel, Jessica de Koning, Esther Turnhout, 2013, In: Arts, B., Behagel, J., Bommel, S. van, Koning, J. de, Turnhout, E. Forest and nature governance: a practice based approach. Dordrecht: Springer.

‘Forest and nature governance’ is a field that has recently emerged from forestry sciences. It analyses the governance of a diverse set of issues, including deforestation, biodiversity loss and illegal logging, producing insights useful for science and policy. Its main theoretical base consists of two mainstream social theories: rational choice and neo-institutionalism. However, since these models rest upon problematic conceptualisations of ‘the social’, this chapter proposes a practice based approach, which offers a comprehensive understanding of the social dynamics related to trees, forests and biodiversity. It goes beyond some of the old dualisms in social theory, such as subject and object, and agency and structure. Three sensitising concepts—situated agency, logic of practice and performativity—will be introduced. In addition, the chapter identifies a number of methodological guidelines for the practice based approach, based on a short review of the practice literature. These concepts and guidelines not only define the practice based approach, but also bind together the individual chapters. Finally, this chapter introduces the book’s contents.

Bricolage practices in local forestry

Jessica de Koning and Charlotte Benneker, 2013, In: Arts, B., Behagel, J., Bommel, S. van, Koning, J. de, Turnhout, E. Forest and nature governance: a practice based approach. Dordrecht: Springer.

Academics and policy makers often analyse the role of institutions in terms of an institutional logic that assumes that designed institutions can effectively shape the (rational) behaviour of actors. In turn, this institutional approach assumes that local actors will automatically embrace new institutions and adapt their behaviour accordingly. However, research at the grassroots level reveals a different story. In this chapter, we show how the introduction of regulations and norms on local forestry triggers a chain of different, often unexpected, responses from local actors. The chapter addresses the processes by which local actors respond to externally imposed institutional arrangements in terms of a logic of practice. It uses the concept of bricolage to analyse forest use practices on the ground that result from the reshaping and combining of different institutional elements. The chapter draws on examples from the global South to show that local actors creatively construct a patchwork of institutions in which old institutions are recombined with the new and in which it becomes clear that institutions in fact do not directly influence behaviour but rather emerge in practices of bricolage directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously. It concludes by stating that introduced institutions do not easily steer human behaviour. A much more important determinant of behaviour is the local logic of practice of local actors. The impact of introduced institutions on local forestry therefore greatly depends on how much they relate to an existing logic of practice.

Forest and nature governance: a practice based approach

Bas Arts, Jelle Behagel,  Severine van Bommel, Jessica de Koning, Esther Turnhout, 2013, Dordrecht: Springer.

Problems such as deforestation, biodiversity loss and illegal logging have provoked various policy responses that are often referred to as forest and nature governance. In its broadest interpretation, governance is about the many ways in which public and private actors from the state, market and/or civil society govern public issues at multiple scales. Examples range from the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity to national forest programmes.
In studies of forest and nature governance the dominant approaches are rational choice and neo-institutionalism. This book takes another perspective. Departing from ‘practice theory’, and building upon scholars like Giddens, Bourdieu, Reckwitz, Schatzki and Callon, it seeks to move beyond established understandings of institutions, actors, and knowledge. In so doing, the book not only presents an innovative conceptual and methodological framework for a practice based approach, but also rich case studies and ethnographies. Examples are participatory forest management in the tropics, REDD policy at global level, European water policy, forest certification and the construction of global biodiversity databases.
Taking social practices as the key unit of analysis, this book describes how different practitioners, ranging from local forest managers on the ground to policy makers at the global level, work with trees, forests, biodiversity, wildlife, and so on, and act upon forest policies, environmental discourses, codes of conduct, or scientific insights. It is also about how communities, NGOs, stakeholders, and citizens get involved in forest and nature governance.