New Project at University of Freiburg to Study Regional Forest Policies

      -       English   -  Deutsch

A comparative analysis will examine which approaches regional regimes are successful with and why

It is now generally recognized that forest policy does not end at national borders: globalization and environmental challenges like climate change and threats to biodiversity demand an international approach. However, little is known about the forest policies regional organizations pursue, the scale on which they are implemented, and their effectiveness. The project "Forest Governance Performances of Regional Regimes" aims to close these gaps: A comprehensive comparative analysis by the political scientist Diana Panke and the forest and environmental policy scientist Daniela Kleinschmit, both of the University of Freiburg, will receive funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG).

More than 70 regional organizations

"Although there are more than 70 regional organizations pursuing forest policies in addition to the European Union or the Congo Basin Forest Partnership, we know very little about their political performance. This is surprising, because the competency spectrum of these regional organizations has been extended over time and now covers a large number of different policy domains," says Panke. It includes trade and economic issues, for example, but also security and usually also environmental protection. "Given the limited effectiveness of the international forest regime, the comparative and comprehensive study of different forest governance regimes and their performance becomes all the more important," adds Kleinschmit.

Adopting a comparative approach, the project will work out similarities and differences between regional organizations over time in order to understand what conditions different forest policies need to develop particularly high impact potential. The study is devoted to research questions on three dimensions of the performance of forest governance in regional regimes: output, outcome, and impact.

Contributions to future forest policy

The central research questions of the project are the following: Do the regional organizations differ with regard to the type and extent of the output they produce, for instance in the decisions they make? Do some regional organizations perform better at activities, that is, with regard to the outcome produced by the decisions they make? And when do regional organizations attain a high impact in the area of forest governance, that is, achieve success in solving problems?

Highlighting such differences and the reasons for them could also help forest policy better address future challenges, adds Kleinschmit: "In view of climate change, our analysis illuminates a blind but important spot in research."

Fact sheet:

  • The project "Forest Governance Performances of Regional Regimes: A Comprehensive Comparative Analysis" will receive a good three million euros in funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG). It begins in November 2022 and will run for 36 months.
  • Daniela Kleinschmit is professor of forest and environmental policy and vice president for internationalization and sustainability at the University of Freiburg. Her research focuses on international forest governance, the bioeconomy, and political media communication.
  • Diana Panke is professor of political science with an emphasis on governance in multilevel systems at the University of Freiburg. Her research focuses on the European Union, international politics, and geopolitics.