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NGO Influence on Forest Legislation

Experiences from Federal Forest Management in the United States

by Ramon Bravo Gonzalez

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Institution: Lund University
Advisor(s): Peter Arnfalk, Carl Dalhammar
Degree: M.S. in Environmental Management and Policy
Year: 2003
Volume: 93 pages
ISBN-10: 159942293X
ISBN-13: 9781599422930


In the last two decades, a concern on how federal forests in the United States are managed has provoked concerns among different stakeholders, including NGOs. The purpose of this thesis is to contribute to the understanding of NGO influence on forest management legislation. Eight aspects were selected and compared in different study cases referring to legislative proposals dealing with forest management in order to define success criteria for a legislative initiative. The study indicates that the following criteria are particularly important to fulfill in order to influence forest management legislation:

- The issue to address should be on the political agenda and have high public interest.

- Environmental and social aspects should not be at the expense of economic aspects.

- The legislative initiative should be prepared in multi-stakeholder processes, including local government and organizations.

- The supporters of the initiative should take part in all decision-making processes and advise the Government in aspects related to their areas of expertise.

NGOs would likely improve their chances of influencing forest management legislation if they hold a flexible position regarding legislative proposals containing similar or even less strict measures than their own initiatives, look at market oriented schemes as alternatives to legislation, and maintain good relationships with other major stakeholders.