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Forest governance and the Arab spring: A case study of state forests in Tunisia

Hasnaoui, Ameni, Krott, Max
Forest policy and economics 2019 v.105 pp. 99-111
case studies, forest management, forest policy, forests, governance, interviews, management systems, models, police, state forests, sustainable forestry, Tunisia
Since the end of the 19th century, there have been three main periods of forest management evolution in Tunisia: (i) the French colonial period (1881–1956), characterized by a coercive and authoritarian management system, (ii) the postcolonial period (1956–2011), during which forest bureaucracy maintained and promoted this coercive and police management, and (iii) the period following the revolution of 2011, marked with policy reforms pushing more sustainable forest management. The paper analyzes the pre-revolution performance of forest administration and the reform discourses of post-revolution forest policy programs. From a methodological perspective, the three-layer model is applied to evaluate the performance of state forest institutions comprehensively before the revolution and then to illustrate the assumed impact of the new policy programs on this performance with two new forest policy programs serving as case studies. Data used in this paper were collected between 2016 and 2018 through field observations, public and non-public documents analysis and expert interviews. The results indicate that post-revolution forest policy programs fail to foster an efficient implementation of their objectives and the improvement of the performance of forest administration as well. Two major reasons can be put forward to explain this failure. First, the lack of comprehensiveness and coherence of the objectives. Second, the gap between these objectives and the time needed for an efficient implementation. To conclude, this study highlights the need to pay more attention to particular causative factors in the design and implementation of post-revolution `strong´ policies in the forest domain.