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Participation or involvement? Development of forest strategies on national and sub-national level in Germany

Weber, Norbert
Forest policy and economics 2018 v.89 pp. 98-106
decision making, forest policy, forests, governance, national forests, Germany
Forest strategies play an important role in policy-making on national and sub-national level. Based on scientific approaches of strategy development and participatory decision making (e.g. Buchy and Hoverman, 2000; Gane, 2007; Saarikoski et al., 2010), the article explains the connections between National Forest Programmes (NFP), forest strategies and related fora for dialogue. Moreover, participatory approaches in a multi-level governance context (e.g. Bernstein and Cashore, 2012; Lindstad and Solberg, 2012) are discussed at the example of Germany.The Forest Strategy 2020 (Waldstrategie 2020) was adopted on national level by the German parliament in 2011. The strategy was considered as an alternative to the NFP process to provide solutions for problems and conflicts arising by a magnitude of societal interests. On sub-national level, several Länder have revised their forest policies accordingly by developing sub-national NFPs as well as conventional strategies. Both on national and on sub-national level, supporting fora (forest summits, fora for dialogue etc.) provided input to strategy development.Participation by representation predominates, deliberation takes place only in a small number of cases. Moreover, there seems to be a development from information to public deliberation and later on to the involvement of a small number of interest groups as a kind of consultative participation.