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Assessing national impacts of international environmental regimes for biodiversity protection and climate mitigatio in boreal forestry – Experiences from using a quantitative approach

Solberg, Birger, Bergseng, Even, Lindstad, Berit H.
Forest policy and economics 2017 v.85 pp. 147-160
behavior change, biodiversity, bioeconomic models, climate, developmental stages, ecosystems, forest certification, forests, guidelines, income, policy analysis, silvicultural practices, sustainable forestry, timber production, Norway
Several international regimes provide numerous recommendations for sustainable forest management and there is a growing interest in knowing more about the potential and actual effects of such regimes and improving their effectiveness. National implementation of such regimes go through different stages of development, from changes ‘on paper’ in regulations and guidelines (labelled output), to behavioural changes among target groups (labelled outcome) before responses are seen on the natural environment (labelled impacts). The main purpose of this paper is to apply a quantitative bio-economic model for analysing the potential impacts on Norwegian forestry of two international regimes (the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) and an extended version of the Kyoto Protocol), and to discuss the weak and strong points in using this kind of method in policy analysis. Our findings imply that: (i) The CBD regime has rather limited impacts on the forest structure and harvest as long as it is practised with an intensity corresponding to the forest certification schemes used at present in Norway, or with lower intensity. (ii) Practiced with maximum consideration to biodiversity the potential impact of the CBD regime on the forest structure and harvest is strong, and it can reduce the income from timber production by 30% or more compared to present forestry practices. This reduction is highest when forest climate mitigation is given low consideration. (iii) There is a significant mutual relationship between the two regimes analysed, in the meaning that the weaker one of them is implemented, the stronger marginal impact has the other. (iv) Using quantitative bio-economic modelling in policy impact analyses like this contributes to the methodological literature on regime effectiveness, and has several advantages. But due considerations should be given to underlying basic assumptions related to agent behaviour and the ecosystem detail level required.