Forests: the political ecology of international environmental governance

McDermott, Constance L. and Humphreys, David (2022). Forests: the political ecology of international environmental governance. In: Harris, Paul G. ed. Routledge Handbook of Global Environmental Politics, Second Edition. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp. 566–578.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003008873

Abstract

This chapter surveys the complex international politics of forest conservation. Forests emerged as a global environmental concern in the latter half of the twentieth century due largely to the acceleration of tropical deforestation. The acceleration of tropical forest loss since the 1960s has sparked, and continues to propel, the idea of forests as a “global commons” in need of coordinated international governance. An international forest convention could have various advantages, depending on how it is designed. North–South differences are often overemphasized in analyses of international relations. The South American countries have been led by Brazil. The Central American countries, by contrast, are much smaller and some have more difficulty attracting forest aid, which could help explain their greater support for a convention. A growing body of scientific research has uncovered a number of reasons for certification’s uneven growth, as well as its limited relevance to deforestation.

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