The “German model” of integrative multifunctional forest management—Analysing the emergence and political evolution of a forest management concept

Borrass, Lars and Kleinschmit, Daniela and Winkel, Georg (2017) The “German model” of integrative multifunctional forest management—Analysing the emergence and political evolution of a forest management concept. Forest Policy and Economics, 77. pp. 16-23. ISSN 1389-9341

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Forest policy and management are subject to various and often conflicting demands, which internationally have led to distinct policy responses and related management paradigms. These range from a strong focus on commodity production complemented by economic rationalities – e.g. focusing on plantations – to community-based or social forestry approaches highlighting local participation and stakeholder engagement, to a focus on ecosystem services and conservation. A major challenge involves the potential orientation of the overall forest policy and management paradigm either towards integrating manifold demands more or less evenly across an area, or towards dividing the land base into forest areas with different management priorities. The specific reconciliation and integration of both sides of the spectrum have been at the centre of scientific and political discussion on forest policy and management for several decades. In this context, the “German model” of integrative and multifunctional forest management has received international attention. It is regarded as an example for integrating diverse (societal and ecological) demands into a timber-production-oriented management approach. At the same time, the model's primary focus on timber production has been criticised by some. In this paper, we analyse the political dimension of the German model by tracing the birth and evolution of the so-called LÖWE programme, a much noticed governmental forest management programme in the German state of Lower Saxony. LÖWE has frequently been presented as a particularly successful example of multifunctional forestry. We first assess the specific societal and political circumstances that led to the establishment of the programme 20 years ago. Subsequently, we assess its political function in forest policy debates about various demands on Lower Saxony's public forests. We show that the evolution of the programme can be interpreted in two distinct but non-exclusive ways. On the one hand, LÖWE was a strategic success story for the Forest Service because it aligned (and also appeased) conflicting demands in line with the changing political priorities. On the other hand, it also embodied a learning process towards environmental policy integration. By underlining LÖWE as an example of the German model of integrative multifunctional forest management, we reiterate the strategic importance of this model in the German context and also highlight future challenges and related research needs.

Item Type: Article
Language: English
Uncontrolled Keywords: Policy integration
Future Forest Subject: Skogsbruk för många olika nyttor > Styrningsmodeller för skogsbruk
Depositing User: Christer Enkvist
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2017 09:48
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2017 09:48

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