International forest politics

Humphreys, David (2010). International forest politics. In: Kutting, Gabriela ed. Global Environmental Politics: Concepts, Theories and Case Studies. London: Routledge, pp. 135–150.



The absence of a forest convention explains in part why international forest policy is spread over several international organisations. It is argued that in order to fully comprehend the international policy responses to deforestation an understanding of neoliberal discourse is needed. Neoliberalism promotes certain types of environmental policy, in particular those that are voluntary, business-led and market-based. In this respect neoliberalism establishes the parameters of international forest policy. The paper concludes by arguing that the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has served as a powerful driver in the expansion of global neoliberalism, providing neoliberal principles with a political and legal force that environmental objectives lack in global governance. Using forests as a case study, therefore, the chapter aims to draw out some broader points of relevance to the politics of global environmental governance.

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