The emergence of democracy as the prevailing basis for national governance, and the increased ability of civil societies to communicate and exert influence on natural resource issues, have major implications for the way the worlds forests are managed. We are moving from a centralised, single best way where forests are managed according to the prescriptions of national forest agencies to pluralistic, locally adapted approaches to forest management that are continually evolving and adapting as societys perception of its needs for forest goods and services changes. National and international attempts to establish norms for forests such as different criteria and indicator sets and the promotion of model forests are giving way to so called ecosystem approaches that recognise that every forest is different and that various approaches to management can meet our requirements for sustainability. These processes are giving greater weight to local values; this comes at the expense of the so-called global values of rare species. This is happening at a time when long-held assumptions about the watershed values of forests are being challenged and when there is wide realisation that measures in the forest sector will not save us from global warming. The needs for forest information are changing as broader-based management regimes are introduced and new arrangements for forest governance are emerging. All of this offers new challenges to forest institutions. They need to emphasise steering rather than rowing, management and dissemination of information and the convening of partners rather than hierarchical decision-making. Foresters will need to be eclectic and masters of interpersonal skills; they will cease to apply a single management model, but will refine the art of muddling through the intricacies of the complex social-ecological systems that constitute our forests.
Topic: forest management,governance,ecosystem management
Series: IUFRO World Series no. 17
Publisher: International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO)
Publication Year: 2005
Source: Forests in the global balance: changing paradigms. 39-48