Read all pages carefully, selected topic, intro & must be follow format according to Sample Paper (3-3 Para each Article)                  

Must be 100% Original                  

I hv already attached Articles, u must be use this 3 articles for Annotated Bibliography      

Wk 7 Discussion (Due in 1 day) Urgent/..Wk 7 Discussion (Required Assignment) Due in 1 day.docx

(Must be 4 to 5 Pages)

Must be 100% Original Work Assignment must be follow Rubric Superior Criteria

Plz read My Note, Important tips (Wrote on 2nd Page) and also sample paper attached.

Must be use attached Three Article

NOTE: I hv attached 3 Articles & include each Article have (3 para) three paragraph
summary, Analysis
to the study.

New Selected topic: Strategies Used by Agency Leaders to Safeguard Rosewood Trade (Annotated Bibliography must be write on related this topic & Apply)

MY Notes:
(Must see sample paper)

Sample Annotated Bibliography attached so must be follow & minimum 3 pages required & three (3) peer-reviewed sources (no older than 5 years).

(4-5 Pages required )Must be include Abstract/Intro like in sample

Course: DDBA – Doctoral Study Mentoring

Selected topic: Strategies Used by Agency Leaders to Safeguard Rosewood Trade

Discussion 2: Annotated Bibliography

In each week of this course, you will research and select three (3) peer-reviewed, scholarly sources to develop an annotated bibliography that you can use in your Doctoral Study. You will need to take the three sources and synthesize the references into a single narrative annotated bibliography that compares/contrasts or supports your study. For example, you may develop three references that will fit into the Nature of the Study (or any other component) and then the synthesized version will help you in developing your Prospectus/Proposal. Please see this week’s Learning Resources for the Sample Annotated Bibliography Template, which you should use to complete your annotated bibliography.

By Day 3

Post your synthesized annotated bibliography narrative that includes an explanation of how these references relate to one or more components of your Doctoral Study and incorporates specific references to the Doctoral Study Rubric.

Refer to the Week 7 Discussion 2 Rubric for specific grading elements and criteria. Your Instructor will use this rubric to assess your work.

Important tips: Include each Article annotated bibliography have three paragraph summary, Analysis and applies to the study

Walden’s recommendations for formatting an AB includes three areas, typically formatted in three paragraphs: 

This first paragraph of the annotation summarizes the source. It outlines the main findings and primary methods of the study.

Summary: What did the author do? Why? What did he/she find?

This second paragraph of the annotation analyzes the source. It explains the benefits of the source but also the limitations.

Analysis: Was the author’s method sound? What information was missing? Is this a scholarly source?

This third paragraph of the annotation applies the source. It explains how the source’s ideas, research, and information can be applied to other contexts.

Application: Does this article apply to the literature? How would you be able to apply this method/study to your particular study? Is the article universal?

In general, annotated bibliographies should avoid referring to the first or second person (I, me, my, we, our, you, and us). Instead, students should aim to be objective and remove themselves from annotations. However, there may be some exceptions to this guideline. Check with your instructor if you are unsure about whether he/she will allow you to use “I” in your annotated bibliography.

Must be use Below Three Article for Annotated Bibliography & related intro & topic

Balanay, R. M., Reyes, S. G., Bongolan, R. L., Cutao, J. M., Casinginan, R. C., & Omboy, A. V. (2022). Assessing timber trade middlemen for development policy actions: A case study in the Caraga Region, Philippines. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 9(1).

Gulbrandsen, L. H. (2008). The role of Science in Environmental Governance: Competing knowledge producers in Swedish and Norwegian forestry. Global Environmental Politics, 8(2), 99–122.

Musselwhite, G., & Herath, G. (2005). Australia’s Regional Forest Agreement Process: Analysis of the potential and problems. Forest Policy and Economics, 7(4), 579–588.

(Balanay et al., 2022)

(Gulbrandsen, 2008)

(Musselwhite & Herath, 2005)

Assignment must be follow Rubric Superior Criteria

Rubric Detail








Not Submitted

Element 1: Annotated Bibliography (post and attach document)

6.6 (30%)

Student posts and includes an attachment of his/her annotated bibliography which includes three peer-reviewed, scholarly sources that are thoroughly synthesized into a single, well-written narrative annotated bibliography that explicitly compares/contrasts or supports his/her study. A thorough and detailed explanation of how the sources relate to his/her study is evident.

6.27 (28.5%)

Student posts and includes an attachment of his/her annotated bibliography which includes three peer-reviewed, scholarly sources that are thoroughly synthesized into a single, well-written narrative annotated bibliography that explicitly compares/contrasts or supports his/her study. A detailed explanation of how the sources relate to his/her study is evident. One or two minor details are missing or lack clarity.

5.61 (25.5%)

Student posts and includes an attachment of his/her annotated bibliography which includes three peer-reviewed, scholarly sources that are synthesized into a single narrative annotated bibliography that explicitly compares/contrasts or supports his/her study. An explanation with some details of how the sources relate to his/her study is evident.

4.95 (22.5%)

Student posts and includes an attachment of his/her annotated bibliography which includes three peer-reviewed, scholarly sources that are somewhat synthesized into a single narrative annotated bibliography that compares/contrasts or supports his/her study. A cursory statement of how the sources relate to his/her study is evident.

3.3 (15%)

Does not meet minimal standards and/or is posted late.


Did not submit element.

Element 2: Follow-up Responses

8.8 (40%)

On Day 5 and on Day 7, student’s responses fully contribute to the quality of interaction by offering constructive critique, suggestions, in-depth questions, and/or additional resources related to peers’ annotated bibliography. Student demonstrates active engagement with more than one peer on at least two days in the discussion forum (or with Instructor if there are no other peers/posts).

8.36 (38%)

On Day 5 and on Day 7, student shares some constructive critique, suggestions, in-depth questions, and/or additional resources related to peers’ annotated bibliography, but more depth and/or clarity around ideas is needed. Student demonstrates active engagement with more than one peer on at least two days in the discussion forum (or with Instructor if there are no other peers/posts).

7.48 (34%)

Student did not post on Day 5 and on Day 7, but he/she did engage with at least one peer (or with Instructor if there are no other peers/posts) during the week offering constructive feedback related to peers’ annotated bibliography.

6.6 (30%)

Student posts to at least one peer (or with Instructor if there are no other peers/posts) but response is cursory and/or off topic.

4.4 (20%)

Does not meet minimal standards and/or student posted late.


Did not submit element.

Element 3: Written Delivery Style & Grammar

3.3 (15%)

Student consistently follows APA writing style and basic rules of formal English grammar and written essay style. Student communicates in a cohesive, logical style. There are no spelling or grammar errors.

3.13 (14.25%)

Student consistently follows APA writing style and basic rules of formal English grammar and written essay style. Student communicates in a cohesive, logical style. There are one or two minor errors in spelling or grammar.

2.81 (12.75%)

Student mostly follows APA writing style and basic rules of formal English grammar and written essay style. Student mostly communicates in a cohesive, logical style. There are some errors in spelling or grammar.

2.48 (11.25%)

Student does not follow APA writing style and basic rules of formal English grammar and written essay style and does not communicate in a cohesive, logical style.

1.65 (7.5%)

Does not meet minimal standards.


Did not submit element.

Element 4: Formal and Appropriate Documentation of Evidence, Attribution of Ideas (APA Citations)

3.3 (15%)

Student demonstrates full adherence to scholarly reference requirements and adheres to APA style with respect to source attribution, references, heading and subheading logic, table of contents and lists of charts, etc. There are no APA errors.

3.13 (14.25%)

Student demonstrates full adherence to scholarly reference requirements and adheres to APA style with respect to source attribution, references, heading and subheading logic, table of contents and lists of charts, etc. There are one or two minor errors in APA style or format.

2.81 (12.75%)

Student mostly adheres to scholarly reference requirements and/or mostly adheres to APA style with respect to source attribution, references, heading and subheading logic, table of contents and lists of charts, etc. Some errors in APA format and style are evident.

2.48 (11.25%)

Student demonstrates weak or inconsistent adherence scholarly reference requirements and/or weak or inconsistent adherence to APA style with respect to source attribution, references, heading and subheading logic, table of contents and lists of charts, etc. Several errors in APA format and style are evident.

1.65 (7.5%)

Does not meet minimal standards.


Did not submit element.

Wk 7 Discussion (Due in 1 day) Urgent/.Sample_Annotated_Bibliography.doc



Sample Annotated Bibliography

Student Name Here

Walden University

Sample Annotated Bibliography

research continues to grapple with activities that best serve the purpose of fostering positive interpersonal relationships for children who struggle with autism. Children have benefited from therapy sessions that provide ongoing activities to aid autistic children’s ability to engage in healthy social interactions. However, less is known about how K–12 schools might implement programs for this group of individuals to provide additional opportunities for growth, or even if and how school programs would be of assistance in the end. There is a gap, then, in understanding the possibilities of implementing such programs in schools to foster the social and thus mental health of children with autism.

Annotated Bibliography

, M. C., Dinehart, L. H., & Winick, C. B. (2016). Child-centered play therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder. In A. A. Drewes & C. E. Schaefer (Eds.), Play therapy in middle childhood (pp. 103–147). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

In this chapter, Kenny, Dinehart, and Winick provided a case study of the treatment of a 10-year-old boy diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ADS). Kenny et al. described the rationale and theory behind the use of child-centered play therapy (CCPT) in the treatment of a child with ASD. Specifically, children with ADS often have sociobehavioral problems that can be improved when they have a safe therapy space for expressing themselves emotionally through play that assists in their interpersonal development. The authors outlined the progress made by the patient in addressing the social and communicative impairments associated with ASD. Additionally, the authors explained the role that parents have in implementing CCPT in the patient’s treatment. Their research on the success of CCPT used qualitative data collected by observing the patient in multiple therapy sessions

CCPT follows research carried out by other theorists who have identified the role of play in supporting cognition and interpersonal relationships. This case study is relevant to the current conversation surrounding the emerging trend toward CCPT treatment in adolescents with ASD as it illustrates how CCPT can be successfully implemented in a therapeutic setting to improve the patient’s communication and socialization skills. However, Kenny et al. acknowledged that CCPT has limitations—children with ADS, who are not highly functioning and or are more severely emotionally underdeveloped, are likely not suited for this type of therapy

Kenny et al.’s explanation of this treatments’s implementation is useful for professionals in the psychology field who work with adolescents with ASD. This piece is also useful to parents of adolescents with ASD, as it discusses the role that parents can play in successfully implementing the treatment. However, more information is needed to determine if this program would be suitable as part of a K–12 school program focused on the needs of children with ASD

Stagmitti, K. (2016). Play therapy for school-age children with high-functioning autism. In A.A. Drewes and C. E. Schaefer (Eds.), Play therapy in middle cildhood (pp. 237–255). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Stagmitti discussed how the Learn to Play program fosters the social and personal development of children who have high functioning autism. The program is designed as a series of play sessions carried out over time, each session aiming to help children with high functioning autism learn to engage in complex play activities with their therapist and on their own. The program is beneficial for children who are 1- to 8-years old if they are already communicating with others both nonverbally and verbally. Through this program, the therapist works with autistic children by initiating play activities, helping children direct their attention to the activity, eventually helping them begin to initiate play on their own by moving past the play narrative created by the therapist and adding new, logical steps in the play scenario themselves. The underlying rationale for the program is that there is a link between the ability of children with autism to create imaginary play scenarios that are increasingly more complex and the development of emotional well-being and social skills in these children. Study results from the program have shown that the program is successful: Children have developed personal and social skills of several increment levels in a short time. While Stagmitti provided evidence that the Learn to Play program was successful, she also acknowledged that more research was needed to fully understand the long-term benefits of the program.

Stagmitti offered an insightful overview of the program; however, her discussion was focused on children identified as having high-functioning autism, and, therefore, it is not clear if and how this program works for those not identified as high-functioning. Additionally, Stagmitti noted that the program is already initiated in some schools but did not provide discussion on whether there were differences or similarities in the success of this program in that setting.

Although Stagmitti’s overview of the Learn to Play program was helpful for understanding the possibility for this program to be a supplementary addition in the K–12 school system, more research is needed to understand exactly how the program might be implemented, the benefits of implementation, and the drawbacks. Without this additional information, it would be difficult for a researcher to use Stigmitti’s research as a basis for changes in other programs. However, it does provide useful context and ideas that researchers can use to develop additional research programs.

Wimpory, D. C., & Nash, S. (1999). Musical interaction therapy–Therapeutic play for children with autism. Child Language and Teaching Therapy, 15(1), 17–28. doi:10.1037/14776-014

Wimpory and Nash provided a case study for implementing music interaction therapy as part of play therapy aimed at cultivating communication skills in infants with ASD. The researchers based their argument on films taken of play-based therapy sessions that introduced music interaction therapy. To assess the success of music play, Wimpory and Nash filmed the follow-up play-based interaction between the parent and the child. The follow-up interactions revealed that 20 months after the introduction of music play, the patient developed prolonged playful interaction with both the psychologist and the parent. The follow-up films also revealed that children initiated spontaneously pretend play during these later sessions. After the introduction of music, the patient began to develop appropriate language skills.

Since the publication date for this case study is 1999, the results are dated. Although this technique is useful, emerging research in the field has undoubtedly changed in the time since the article was published. Wimpory and Nash wrote this article for a specific audience, including psychologists and researchers working with infants diagnosed with ASD. This focus also means that other researchers beyond these fields may not find the researcher’s findings applicable.

This research is useful to those looking for background information on the implementation of music into play-based therapy in infants with ASD. Wimpory and Nash presented a basis for this technique and outlined its initial development. Thus, this case study can be useful in further trials when paired with more recent research.

�The format of an annotated bibliography can change depending on the assignment and instructor preference, but the typical format for an annotated bibliography in academic writing is a list of reference entries with each entry followed by an annotation (hence the name, “annotated bibliography”).

However, APA does not have specific rules or guidelines for annotated bibliographies, so be sure to ask your instructor for any course-specific requirements that may vary from the general format.

�An introduction is a helpful addition to your annotated bibliography to tell your reader (a) your topic and focus for your research and (b) the general context of your topic.

Although your assignment instructions may not explicitly ask for an introduction, your instructor might expect you to include one. If you are not sure, be sure to ask your instructor.

�Use a Level 1 heading titled “Annotated Bibliography” or any other wording your instructor has given you to indicate to your reader that the annotations will go next and separate this section from the introduction paragraph above.

�Format your reference entries per APA, as well as follow APA style when writing your paragraphs. However, as mentioned above, this is the extent of the formatting requirements APA has for annotated bibliographies.

The content of the paragraphs and how many paragraphs you include in each annotation follows academic writing conventions, your assignment guidelines, and your instructor preferences.

�This first paragraph of the annotation summarizes the source. It outlines the main findings and primary methods of the study.

�This second paragraph of the annotation analyzes the source. It explains the benefits of the source but also the limitations.

�This third paragraph of the annotation applies the source. It explains how the source’s ideas, research, and information can be applied to other contexts.

In general, annotated bibliographies should avoid referring to the first or second person (I, me, my, we, our, you, and us). Instead, students should aim to be objective and remove themselves from annotations. However, there may be some exceptions to this guideline. Check with your instructor if you are unsure about whether he/she will allow you to use “I” in your annotated bibliography.

Wk 7 Discussion (Due in 1 day) Urgent/Assessing timber trade middlemen.pdf


Assessing timber trade middlemen for
development policy actions: a case study in the
Caraga region, Philippines
Raquel M. Balanay 1,2, Shiela G. Reyes 3✉, Rodrigo L. Bongolan Jr.3, Jaime M. Cutao Jr.2,

Ronie C. Casinginan Jr.2 & Andrew V. Omboy Jr.2

The timber trade middlemen are examined in this work to understand their functions, work

conditions and work outcomes in the Caraga Region (Philippines) for development insights.

Investigative practice and comparative observation were the approaches used to assess these

middlemen. The results exhibit the essential role of the timber trade middlemen from log

cutting to log delivery and in the regularity of timber trade operations across Caraga Region.

Merchant middlemen, agent middlemen and service providers are the three general mid-

dlemen types observed. The service providers have the largest number and composition with

six subtypes. Further results show that the purchase order holders (merchant middlemen)

can profit largely (more than 20%) from the buy and sell of logs. The timber trade mid-

dlemen’s work conditions have issues with personal security, occupational safety, price

uncertainty and transparency. They have been involved “incognito” in timber trade opera-

tions, rendering some of them vulnerable and less protected in the timber supply chain. Policy

actions to enhance transparency and recognize properly these middlemen for the safe

conduct of their businesses, for further skills development, for their organization in the timber

industry, and for incentivizing their services properly are recommended for the sustainable

development of the timber supply chain in Caraga Region. OPEN

1 College of Agriculture and Agri-industries, Caraga State University, Butuan, Philippines. 2 NICER-ITPS Center, Caraga State University, Butuan, Philippines.
3 Agusan del Sur State College of Agriculture and Technology, Bunawan, Philippines. ✉email: [email protected]




araga Region is located in the northeastern part of
Mindanao where the established timberland is the fourth
largest in the Philippines at 992,131 hectares (DENR-

FMB, 2020). Log production in the region is highest at 573,782.08
cubic meters across the country (DENR-FMB, 2020), which
retains the title for the Caraga Region as the country’s Timber
Corridor (Peras et al., 2020). On average, around 65% of the
country’s timber supply is procured from the region annually
(DENR-FMB, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018). In 2011, by virtue of
Executive Order (EO) 23 that promulgated the prohibition of the
cutting of trees from the natural and the residual forests in the
country, the timber industry in the region underwent a major
change due to the consequent rigid regulatory schemes. The
region’s timber industry performance plummeted drastically
following the enforcement of EO 23, but bounced back with the
flourish of the planted forests and the cohesive adaptation of
stakeholders, especially the timber trade middlemen (Peras et al.,
2020). However, these middlemen, except for the wood pro-
cessors, have been unrecognized for years, because there is yet no
accreditation system to enroll them for proper recognition in the
wood/timber industry in the region. Particularly, these middle-
men have been assisting the industry to ensure continuous log
supply for the wood processors and to ensure accessible log
buyers for the tree farmers. Yet, there is scarcity of information
regarding their functions, specializations, and issues in the timber
supply chain, which can potentially impede welfare improvement
along the chain.

The region is also the highest in log consumption in the
country with the huge volume required for its wood processing
plants (DENR-Forest Management Bureau, 2018; Peras et al.,
2020). In 2018, it posted a total log requirement for wood pro-
cessing at around 719,000 cubic meters, to which it could only
provide 72% of the volume required (DENR-FMB, 2018). Log
importation and procurement from other regions help fill the gap
nonetheless (DENR-FMB, 2018; Peras et al., 2020). The unrec-
ognized middlemen as go-between and intermediaries organize
the activities necessary for the smooth flow of log and financial
resources from the tree farmers and the wood processing plants
and vice versa. These individuals have learned to handle the craft
smartly for the daily operations of the wood processing plants
and the timber industry in the Caraga Region and also overseas
with log exports being made. Thus, this work advocates for the
research on the middlemen and their specific functions in the
timber supply chain to address information scarcity on this aspect
and to understand these individuals in the timber trade in Caraga
Region. Generally, these middlemen have been perceived sulliedly
as necessary evils in log/timber marketing.

As this work addresses the information gap about the mid-
dlemen in the timber trade, it is driven to produce insights for
these middlemen to be properly recognized. These middlemen are
widely perceived to be manipulating prices and business trans-
actions to their advantage (Bertomeu, 2008; Dong and He, 2017),
Such perception is checked and tried to be explained based on
factual observations, particularly on the conditions/opportunities
that could have allowed such manipulative behavior among the
timber trade middlemen. This work presents the baseline speci-
fically about the types of middlemen in the timber trade apart
from the wood processors, their personal background, their
specific activities, and their economic shares in the trade. The
issues and constraints in the performance of their activities are
tackled also to present the limiting conditions they have to sur-
mount to facilitate the regular operations of the timber industry
for local and international markets. Caraga Region as the Timber
Corridor of the Philippines has a pivotal role in the upgrading of
the timber industry with relevant policies that would look into the

welfare of its key stakeholders, including the middlemen. To the
best of the authors’ knowledge, this work has pioneered in the
study of the timber trade middlemen in Caraga Region to discuss
the policy implications for the proper recognition and main-
streaming of these middlemen in the region’s timber industry

Review of literature
Timber trade in Caraga Region has already existed even before the
1970s. In the region’s glorious past, it hosted the Timber City of
Southern Philippines known today as Butuan City. At present, the
forest base is dwindling, but the entire region remains among
the last frontiers of Philippine forestry as the Timber Corridor of
the country (Peras et al., 2020). The tree farmers’ participation in
the upstream of the timber supply chain is credited hugely for
that, and so is the participation of the timber trade middlemen. In
the region, the regular operations of the timber industry are made
possible largely with the middlemen who are responsible for the
smooth flow of timber products and payments daily. These mid-
dlemen operate in an indistinguishable way to the public; yet can
still exert impact on timber trade (Kuempel, 2016).The region is
credited for the daily count of over a hundred trips of timber
delivery from Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte and Surigao del
Sur to Cagayan de Oro City in Northern Mindanao and Davao
City in Davao Region for bulk log consumption either in pro-
cessing or in overseas shipping (Laureto et al., 2015). In this work,
the middlemen’s activities and role in the timber trade are dis-
cussed for the welfare concerns and interests of these critical
players in the timber supply chain.

The timber trade middlemen: critical role and activities
The recent published works pertaining to the timber trade mid-
dlemen are scant (Tham et al., 2020). Many of those related to
them are nested in studies addressing different issues where they
can be part of the key data/information sources, as in the works of
Arvola et al. (2020), Santos et al. (2019), and Lusasi et al. (2020),
among others. In Caraga Region, the middlemen are the least
understood in the timber supply chain. Interestingly, they get
involved in the chain activities indistinguishably but can still
influence the chain/industry balance (Peras et al., 2020). There are
no public records about the identities and functions of these
middlemen in the timber supply chain, unlike the tree farmers
and the wood processing companies (Peras et al., 2020). Over the
years, most studies have focused on the tree farmers who are
generally poor in the Philippines (Peras et al., 2020).

On the other hand, studies depicting the middlemen in the
timber industry highlight the disreputable exploitative behavior of
these middlemen. The timber trade middlemen are viewed as
capable of controlling trade negotiations to their advantage,
particularly in the matter of prices (Tham et al., 2020; Pulhin and
Ramirez, 2016). They are noted to be involved in illicit activities
such as illegal timber trade with timber production practices
inconsistent with the global sustainable forestry standards
(Maria-Sube and Woodgate, 2019; Phan, 2017; Pulhin and
Ramirez, 2016; Anttila, 2016; Woods, 2011). With their engage-
ment in illegal timber trade, corrupt practices are inevitably
associated with them as found in the work of Mahanty (2018).
These middlemen have the tendencies to bribe for favors (e.g. for
the smooth passage of illegal logs or timber laundering according
to Andrighetto (2018)) and also have rent-seeking tendencies
(Anttila, 2016).

Thus, the middlemen are commonly known to influence
shrewdly the distribution of timber trade benefits, which result in
much higher benefits for them than for the tree farmers



(Tham et al., 2020; Susilowati and Akbar, 2018). That observation
has become a cliché that has not been explained with depth as to
why these middlemen can behave exploitatively (Tham et al.,
2020; Susilowati and Akbar, 2018; Peras et al., 2020; Lusambo
et al., 2021). This work has considered the conditions under
which the middlemen can potentially exert influence to their
advantage. As widely observed, the timber trade or supply chain is
noted to have arduous and ambiguous processes and policies
(Vasile, 2020; Tham et al., 2020; du Preez and Chevallier, 2012;
Race et al., 2019). Such condition provides opportunities for
middlemen to offer assistance at a much profitable rate especially
in areas with high timber demand (Race et al., 2019). As inter-
mediaries, the middlemen perform a number of functions that
ease the tree farmers (of red tape particularly) and the wood
processing companies of burdens associated with the exchange
and flow of timber products and product payments (Arvola et al.,
2019). Table 1 shows some of the critical tasks undertaken by the
middlemen in the timber supply chain, which also explain the
preference of the tree farmers and the wood processors for the
middlemen’s services.

Facilitation services are the apparent reasons for the preference
of the tree farmers for the middlemen’s services, especially in the
sale and transport of logs. The middlemen are clearly specialized
in intermediary functions to act as bridges between log producers
and consumers and provide gratifying results to their clients even
if forestry regulations are violated sometimes (Phan, 2017; Dong
and He, 2017). As individuals engaged in facilitation/inter-
mediary business, they have to set prices for their services con-
sidering the burdens and risks that have to be borne in the
accomplishment of their intermediary tasks. Indeed, one of which
is to master with bureaucracy in the timber industry to accom-
plish intermediary tasks with success (Arvola et al., 2019; Ghosh
and Sinha, 2018; Anttila, 2016; Bisjoe, 2016; Lusasi et al., 2020).
The timber industry is a highly-regulated sector because of the
issues in forest rehabilitation and sustainability as well as envir-
onmental impacts (Dong and He, 2017; Pontecorvo, 2018). The
middlemen bear risks that may cost them to lose so much of their
expected profits. These risks may include personal safety/security
(at border patrols and checkpoints), price fluctuations at market
destinations, political conflicts, exorbitant interest rates at lend-
ing, timber order cancellation, product delays, transaction cost
increase, uncertain policies, and many others (Dong and He,

2017; Phan, 2017). The uncertainty and costs of confronting these
risks have made the middlemen quite wary of their profits from
trade, according to Tham et al. (2020).

On the welfare of the timber trade middlemen
The studies reviewed in the earlier section have established the
essential role of the middlemen in timber trade. The importance
of the middlemen is justified by their services despite the draw-
back of exploitative behavior. Underlying reasons of information
gaps and transparency issues are believed to have contributed to
the opportunities of these middlemen to be exploitative/manip-
ulative. The timber trade sector or supply chain has some issues
that hinder the understanding of the factors leading to the said
middlemen’s behavior. It has been complex and problematic not
only across the Philippines but across the globe as well. Tham
et al. (2020) have pointed out numerous elements that have
contributed to the sector’s chronic problems/issues. Poorly
behaving regulation and institutional arrangements as well as
increasing transaction costs are among these elements, specifically
in the Southeast Asian countries like Cambodia, Philippines, Lao
PDR, Vietnam, and Indonesia (Tham et al., 2020). The timber
trade sector needs to catch up with the improvement of gov-
ernance and coordination in the timber supply chain. Less
empowered trade participants and cutthroat competition can
complicate the existing governance and coordination issues in the
timber supply chain (Tham et al., 2020). Additionally, lack of
market information, technology upgrading, sound business stra-
tegies, and research and development support are the other lin-
gering issues (Tham et al., 2020).

Meanwhile, high transaction costs present a reasonable gap and
favorable opportunity for the middlemen to get involved in
timber supply chain activities as intermediaries and facilitators
((Anttila, 2016), The chain participants (e.g. tree farmers/grow-
ers/cultivators and wood processors) usually lack time and
resources to undergo the hassles/tediousness and unprogrammed
expenditures associated with forestry/timber industry regulations
(Anttila, 2016). This has been observed in the reviewed works of
Phan (2017) and Pontecorvo (2018) where the timber exports are
challenged with the cross-country timber trade policies (e.g.
Forest Laws Enforcement Governance and Trade) as well as of
Dong and He (2017) where timber importation of China has
increased after tightening of the country’s timber policies.

Table 1 Middlemen’s services in the timber supply chain.

Service/Activity Source

Purchase timber directly from the farmers or collect timber for the wood

Purwanti (2016)

Act as bridge between the customers and suppliers Susilowati and Akbar (2018)
Sell timber to the wood processing industry in the form of logs. Purwanti (2016), Muin (2016)
Do the felling and transport of timber Muin (2016)
Make themselves accessible or easy to contact by tree growers/farmers/
cultivators for the buying of selected logs.

Arvola et al. (2019), Ghosh and Sinha (2018)

Take responsibility of time-consuming activities with the bureaucratic
process in the sale of logs and carry the administrative burdens

Arvola et al. (2019), Ghosh and Sinha (2018), Wells et al. (2007), Anttila
(2016), Bisjoe (2016), Purwanti (2016), Muin (2016), Lusasi et al. (2020),
Dong and He (2017)

Provide information on prices. Erbaugh et al. (2016)
Act as representatives of wood-based industries Purwanti (2016)
Make cash payments for purchased timber and advance money for use by
the tree growers/farmers/cultivators.

Arvola et al. (2019), Erbaugh et al. (2016), Wells et al. (2007), Purwanti
(2016), Susilowati and Akbar (2018)

Absorb the stresses associated with timber/log sale and supply Arvola et al. (2019), Ghosh and Sinha (2018), Wells et al. (2007), Anttila

Bear the possible risks in the trade on behalf of the tree farmers and the

Arvola et al. (2019), Ghosh and Sinha (2018), Wells et al. (2007), Anttila
(2016), Bisjoe (2016), Muin (2016), Susilowati and Akbar (2018)

Reach remote regions of production and conduct inter-island
commercial trade

Susilowati and Akbar (2018)



However, almost none of these works have attempted to under-
stand the middlemen’s practices and their welfare issues. Among
the works reviewed herein, Anttila (2016) had gotten close to
investigating the importance of the services of the middlemen in
timber trade. However, the said study had delved only a little to
discuss about the work conditions and other welfare issues that
could clarify the actions of these middlemen. This work has
aimed to produce the baseline to draw insights from synthesized
information about these middlemen. For the case of Caraga
Region, the tasks and the risks of these middlemen are vital
information to be accounted for in the ways forward to accelerate
timber industry development.

Area of the study. This study was conducted in the three pro-
vinces of Caraga Region that is dubbed as the Philippine Timber
Corridor. The region is situated in the northeastern part of
Mindanao Island (the second largest island in the country) with a
total land area of 18,847 sq. km (National Nutrition Council,
2021). Forestland comprises 71% of the said land area in which
most of it is located in the province of Agusan del Sur (DENR-
FMB, 2019). Besides Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte and
Surigao del Sur are the other two provinces where the field
activities of this study were conducted. These three provinces
were selected based on the forestry statistics published by the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Forest
Management Bureau (DENR-FMB). Particularly, the said pro-
vinces were selected based on the monthly log production volume
and the tenurial instruments for forest resource allocation by
province. Butuan City, the former Timber City of Southern
Philippines, is the administrative capital of Caraga Region and is

the home of most of the region’s wood processing companies.
Figure 1 shows the geographical map of the Caraga Region.

Selection of respondents and data collection. The main
respondents of this study are the middlemen in the timber trade
who have been unrecognized with the absence of public records
about their characteristics and involvement in the said trade.
Peras et al. (2020) have considered these middlemen the “phan-
toms” in the timber trade because they have been unregistered
unlike the wood processors. Snowball sampling approach was
used in identifying the respondents because of the absence of a
sampling frame or a reference list of these middlemen to serve as
basis for the random selection of respondents. To locate them,
information and assistance from key informants were essentially
utilized. The key informants had linked the interviewers of this
study to the middlemen for the consented personal interviews.
These key informants were fellow workers of the middlemen who
were intended as the main respondents of this study. Suggestions
from the interviewed respondents were then followed to locate
the rest of the respondents. The tracing method of this study was
aided by the information given by the key informants and the
interviewed middlemen. The key informants who were also
middlemen were selected based on their lengths of experience,
engagement in, and knowledge about timber trade across the
region. In addition to the middlemen-key informants, this study
also selected some local people who lived near the hot decks, tree
farmers, barangay officials, and personnel from the Department
of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as other key
informants. They were asked with consent about their knowledge
as to the identities, the activities, practices, and behavior of the
middlemen as well as their perspectives about these middlemen.
The tracing and the interviews of the respondents were

Fig. 1 Map of Caraga Region.



undertaken for four months (January–April 2020) with the pur-
chase order holders as the last interviewees. Knowledge about
these purchase order holders in Caraga Region was obtained from
the work of Peras et al. (2020).

Four hundred four (404) respondents were interviewed with
the use of a structured questionnaire. Their backgrounds, timber
trade activities/practices/functions and specialization (on which
the middlemen classification is based), costs and incomes,
perceptions about the timber trade operations, risks, problems,
and constraints were among the information gathered. They were
interviewed by eight (8) trained enumerators who were college
graduates with agriculture and forestry backgrounds and who had
lived for more than 1 year in the province of Agusan del Sur.
Prior to the deployment of the enumerators, they underwent a
weeklong orientation and training to do the interviews properly.
The work of Kohls and Uhl (2002) and the online material from
the e-Learning Portal on Agricultural Education of the Indian
Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) (e-Learning Portal on
Agricultural Education, undated) were used as guides in the
classification of the middlemen. The middlemen are the business
individuals and groups specialized in performing the marketing
tasks and are between the producers and the consumers of a
product/commodity (e.g. logs and timber) (Kohls and Uhl, 2002).
In this study, the timber trade middlemen are classified into
merchant middlemen, agent middlemen, and service providers. In
the timber trade of the Philippines, only the wood processors
have been recognized and registered properly; the rest had to be
traced and registered for welfare improvement in the timber
supply chain. Also, in this work, investigative practice and
comparative observation were undertaken. The investigative
practice has been applied in various research topics in the
medical and the cultural fields as well as in police investigation
and program assessment. The works of Kinney et al. (2019) on
sudden death in epilepsy, Smith et al. (2017) on improvement in
the use of DNA in crime investigation, Bhardwaj (2019) on dance
teaching in a contemporary Indian context, and Abderrahim and
Merabet (2021) on new program assessment in France exhibit the
empirical use of investigative practice particularly.

The use of the investigative practice in this study is for the
baseline information about the unrecognized middlemen to be
established. These middlemen are believed to be many in Caraga
Region who may have done critical roles, functions, and services,
facing risks and problems, and working with profit motives in the
timber supply chain. Comparative observation is the supple-
mental approach for the synthesis and analysis of data for this
study. Similar to investigative practice, it has been used in various
research works such as configuration of human teeth during the
middle Pleistocene Age in China by Pan and Zanolli (2019), legal
issues in global supply chain liability by Reinke and Zumbansen
(2019), and cleaner shrimp production concerns by Titus et al.
(2017). Comparative observation is useful in distinguishing the
interesting differences and areas for improvement in certain
cases. In this study, the unrecognized middlemen’s background,
work conditions, problems, and risks are discussed to suggest
strategic actions. Moreover, the study used primary and
secondary data/information to provide an adequate basis for
strategic development actions. As mentioned, the primary data/
information was obtained through questionnaire-guided inter-
views of the purposively selected middlemen and the interviews of
the key informants. Field observations also provide further
information to the collected and analyzed responses and data.
Observation activities were done with approval from the
middlemen during the performance of some timber trade
activities from farm sites to hot decks or assembly or pick-up
areas where logs were deposited for loading into the trucks. These
were done to gather information on the work condition and the

occupational safety concern during the performance of the timber
trade activities (e.g. hauling, transport, and loading of logs). The
secondary data/information was collected through desk research
with online search and downloading of published works.

Method of data analysis. The classification of the middlemen
was outlined through the information from the key informants.
The information from the questionnaire-guided interviews sub-
stantiated this classification. In determining the specific mid-
dlemen types, the work of Kohls and Uhl (2002) was referred to
with the online lecture material on marketing at the e-Learning
Portal of Agricultural Education. The analyzed responses about
the specialization or tasks of the respondents reveal that the
unrecognized middlemen in the timber trade in Caraga Region
are of three types: service providers, agent, and merchant mid-
dlemen. Descriptive statistics using Excel was used in the analysis
of the data/information gathered through the key informant
interviews, the questionnaire-guided interviews, and the desk
research. Nonetheless, the contextual analysis provided the guide
in the sorting and synthesis of information from the secondary
sources through the desk research and from the primary sources
through the consented interviews to establish the major findings
of this study.

The middlemen of timber trade in Caraga Region. With the
absence of statistical and registry documents about the timber
trade middlemen in the Caraga Region, these unrecognized
middlemen are estimated to be at least a thousand in number.
This is due to the fact that over a hundred truckloads of logs
per day (or at least 125 truckloads daily on average) are trans-
ported within and out of Caraga Region (Laureto et al., 2015).
The middlemen-key informants of this study estimated the
loading of logs to a truck to take around 2 hours for the pulp-
wood type and 6–8 hours for the peelable type, but longer for
logs bound to Cagayan de Oro City (175 km away from Butuan
City) due to the tediousness of log piling to maximize the truck’s
cargo space. On average, 10–20 persons are involved in the
loading process at the hot deck. For other activities like timber
harvesting and hauling, around the same number of people are
involved estimably. All of the timber trade activities (e.g. log
cutting, hauling, loading and transport) can occur at the same
time. This study interviewed 404 of the timber trade middlemen
distributed across the three provinces (Agusan del Sur, Agusan
del Norte, and Surigao del Sur) unevenly by middlemen type.
The presence of these many middlemen in the region conveys the
evidence of beneficial spillover impacts of timber trade to the
local economy of the Caraga Region. Timber trade employment
opportunities have been apparently created with these middle-
men. In the prior years, these opportunities and beneficial
impacts had not been discussed and accounted for because these
middlemen had been indistinguishable or incognito in the timber
supply chain (Peras et al., 2020).

Table 2 presents the distribution of the said middlemen across
the region. Agusan del Sur is shown as the epicenter of timber
trade activities with the largest number of middlemen in the
timber trade. The aforementioned middlemen are of three types
in each province: merchant and agent middlemen and service
providers. The merchant middlemen are the ones who procure
the logs for their wood processing clients. Depending on their
strategies to meet the wood requirements of their clients, they
arrange for the terms of sale with their fellow middlemen. They
also do the same with the tree farmers in the area. Sometimes, the
merchant middlemen seek help from the agent middlemen to find
the sources of log supply for consequent purchase. A key



informant from the DENR also called this middleman as a spotter
to mean that this middleman helps the merchant middlemen in
identifying the tree farmers interested in selling their logs. The
agent middlemen assist the merchant middlemen in log
procurement and can help arrange for timber harvest and
transport operations as well. The service providers cater to the
need for substantial manpower for the accomplishment of the
tasks involved in the availability of logs for delivery to the wood
processing plants. In the table, although Agusan del Sur has the
largest number of middlemen, it is specifically largest in the
number of service providers. Agusan del Norte, which is next to
Agusan del Sur in the total number of middlemen, is largest in the
number of merchant and agent middlemen. Across the region,
Agusan del Sur is widely known for timber production while
Agusan del Norte is known for wood/log consumption since most
of the wood processors are located in it.

In Table 3, the background of these middlemen shows that the
middlemen are local people who work in timber trade operations
for gainful employment. Interestingly, they are ordinary persons
who have mastered the trade of addressing facilitation needs for a
living. The regularity of timber trade operations in the Caraga
Region is owed to them. Reciprocally, it helps them establish
connections and make regular earnings. The merchant and the
agent middlemen are older in age than the service providers. The
younger age composition is suitable for the service providers due
to the substantial brawn power required for their jobs. Across the
three types, these middlemen have low education with secondary
level as their highest level of educational attainment. Although
males are dominant, there are a few women in merchant
middlemen and service providers. Most of the middlemen are
married and have small- to medium-sized households. They have
lived in their current areas of residence for more than 20 years,
especially the merchant and the agent middlemen. Prior to
settling in their current locations, they have mostly lived in
Butuan City, which is the Timber City of the South of the
country. These people mostly have no affiliation with any
organizations that might help them advance their engagement
in the timber supply chain as essential intermediaries.

Based on the estimated values of their assets, the merchant
middlemen are the relatively well-off individuals compared to the
agent middlemen and the service providers. The latter two types
of middlemen appear to be of modest living standard. Based on
income, the merchant middlemen earn the most substantial
amount from at least Php 20,000 ($395.5) to around Php100,000
(almost $2000) per month due to their timber trade activities.
Among the merchant middlemen, the purchase-order holders
earn five times higher compared to those without purchase

orders. They also earn income much higher than most of the
service providers. The agent middlemen earn around Php 1760
($35) per truck on estimate, in which the number of trucks is
highly variable and is believed to be at least three trucks per
month. However, in terms of their other income sources, the
agent middlemen were not forthcoming such that no reliable
estimate can be given for their other income sources. Both
merchant middlemen and service providers have alternative
income sources that include coconut farming, swine raising,
vegetable production, and small-scale vending (sari-sari store in
local term).

Critical functions and network of the middlemen in timber
trade. Tables 4 and 5 introduce the classification of the timber
trade middlemen operating in the Caraga Region. The classifi-
cation is based on the specialized functions of the middlemen
(which job they are most associated with) and the size or scale of
operations specifically for the merchant middlemen. This work
has noted the practice of multi-tasking among the middlemen
especially the service providers for some economic reasons such
as additional income and work efficiency (to accomplish the
marketing task on time/schedule). The common multiple tasks
performed by each type of middleman are also described in the
aforementioned tables. The agent middlemen are classified into
commission men and brokers following the reference materials
mentioned earlier. The services of the commission men are found
to be employed by the brokers, the fact that most of the nego-
tiations with the tree farmers are done by the commission men
and that payments for the services of the commission men are
charged to the brokers. The brokers deal more with the log buyers
who are the merchant middlemen than with the log producers
who are the tree farmers. The merchant middlemen are of three
types based on the scale of operations: strikers, non-purchase-
order (non-PO) holders, and purchase order (PO) holders. The
strikers have the smallest and the most irregular scale of opera-
tions, dealing with the buying of some log pieces (very much less
than a truckload) to be consolidated with the logs bought from
other sources for next sale or delivery. They negotiate with the
tree farmers directly for the procurement of logs that they sell
consequently to either the non-PO or the PO holders. The non-
PO holders employ the services of the agent middlemen for the
buying of logs from the tree farmers, which is the same with the
PO holders in practice.

All merchant middlemen employ the services of the various
service providers for the cutting of trees and the delivery of logs to
their wood processing clients. They also process for the release of
the necessary certifications/permits for the cutting and transport
of logs to the wood processing companies in the proper
Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices (CEN-
ROs) that are attached agencies of the Department of Environ-
ment and Natural Resources (DENR). The non-PO holders
assemble bigger log volumes (in truckloads with an average of
30 cu.m. per truck) for potential sale to the PO holders or to the
wood processing companies after days to months of waiting. The
waiting time/period at the wood processing plants depends on
the log needs of the wood processing companies or whether or
not additional log delivery is needed. The PO holders are the
merchant middlemen who are awarded with the purchase orders
from the wood processing companies. The possession of purchase
orders indicates the authority of the PO holders to purchase logs
on behalf of the companies and thus the priority rights to be
served with the proper entry for log delivery at the plant gates of
the wood processing companies. Without the purchase orders, the
merchant middlemen who wish to deliver their logs to the said
companies have to wait outside the plant gates until all deliveries

Table 2 Distribution of timber trade middlemen by type
across caraga region, 2019.

Particulars Number Percentage

Agusan Del Norte 133 100
Merchant Middlemen 29 21.8
Agent Middlemen 14 10.5
Service Provider 90 67.7
Agusan Del Sur 210 100
Merchant Middlemen 17 8.1
Agent Middlemen 7 3.3
Service Provider 186 88.6
Surigao Del Sur 61 100
Merchant Middlemen 5 8.2
Agent Middlemen 2 3.3
Service Provider 54 88.5
Total number of respondents 404 100



Table 3 The general characteristics of the timber trade middlemen in Caraga region.

Particulars Merchant middlemen Agent middlemen Service providers

Age composition (years) 36–50 (67%) 31–45 (50%) 30 and below (44%)
Educational attainment

Elementary-secondary (84%) Elementary-secondary (100%) Elementary-secondary (74%)

Gender composition Male (98%) Male (100%) Male (99%)
Civil status Married (96%) Married (88%) Married (67%)
Household size

3–6 members (63%) 3–6 members (71%) 1–4 members (68%)

Years in the community 31–50 (55%) 31–50 (58%) 21–40 (62%)
Area lived in prior to
current residence

Butuan City (47%) Butuan City (52%) Not lived anywhere (current
residence) (75%)

Membership in

None (78%) None (79%) None (94%)

Household assets (estimated value in Php and USD)
House 393,333.33 ($7777.92) 90,227.27 ($1784.19) 58,304.88 ($1152.94)
Residential Lot 200,000.00 ($3954.87) No response 150,000.00 ($2966.16)
Farm land 675,285.71 ($13353.35) 157,777.78 ($3119.96) 228,621.43 ($4520.85)
Four-wheeled vehicle 734,142.86 ($14517.22) 348,000.00 ($6881.48) 259,045.45 ($5122.46)
Two-wheeled motor

108,322.58 ($2142.01) 55,666.67 ($1100.77) 36,760.56 ($726.92)

Income sources and
estimated amounts (in
Php and USD)

Purchase order holders: log buying and
selling and use of purchase orders by other
merchant middlemen (estimated
Php100,000 ($1977.5) per month) beside
the piggery/swine raising business, coconut
farming and small-scale vending
Non-Purchase Order Holders and Strikers:
Log buying and selling (at least Php20,000
($395.5) per month) beside vegetable
production (Php2000 ($39.55) per month),
small scale vending (Php2000 ($39.55) per
month), coconut farming (Php3000
($59.3) per month), and backyard
swine raising

Estimated at Php1764 ($35)
per truck for at least three
trucks per month
Alternative income sources: no

Service providers excluding the truck driver
and truck assistants: labor services (around
Php8000 ($158.2) per month) beside
vegetable production, backyard swine
raising, small-scale vending and coconut
Truck driver: transportation service (around
Php24,000 ($474.6) per month) beside
vegetable production and small-scale
Truck driver assistant: labor service
(around Php12,000 ($237.3) per month)
beside vegetable production and small-
scale vending

Numbers/figures in parentheses for all items before the household assets refer to the percentage of the respondents comprising the majority. All numbers inside the parentheses for all asset items or
under the household assets as well as the incomes refer to the dollar equivalents of the estimated values above in Philippine peso. The exchange rate is US$1 = Php50.57.

Table 4 The functions of the agent and the merchant middlemen in the caraga region.

Types of middlemen Functions

Agent middlemen
Commission men – Locate the log sources

– Negotiate with the tree farmers for a favorable price
– Receive commissions from the broker-clients

Brokers – Commonly contacted by log buyers for their log needs
– Look for log supply sources
-Employ commission men to look for supply sources and give commission to them
– Collect payment for the service from the log-buyer clients
– Does log marking sometimes

Merchant middlemen
Non-purchase-order (non-PO) holders – Engage the services of the agent middlemen

– Buy logs and sometimes sell logs to companies only not on a prioritized basis
-Work out for the necessary permits

Strikers – Look for supply sources, buy logs in minimal volumes and sell to Non-PO holders and sometimes
to PO holders

– Work out for the necessary permits
Purchase-order (PO) holders – Engage the services of the agent middlemen

– Hold the purchase orders of the wood-processing company clients
– Arrange with their company clients the schedules of log delivery
– Buy logs from non-PO holders and strikers
– Work out for the necessary permits



of the PO holders are completed properly. This usually results in
temporary campouts and long queues of trucks and transporters
outside the plant gates of the wood processors. The PO holders
can help their fellow merchant middlemen by assembling the log
volume required in the purchase orders through buying logs from
the strikers and the non-PO holders. To avoid the costs associated
with extended campouts and queues, the non-PO holders and the
strikers may choose to sell their logs at reduced rates to the PO
holders who are also concerned about meeting their obligations of
regular log delivery to the wood processing companies.

The service providers are middlemen of varied types who
belong to the facilitative middlemen because they offer their
services to accomplish the marketing tasks in time without hassles
on the part of the merchant and the agent middlemen. They are
highly skilled individuals who engage in multiple jobs during field
operations for additional income. Their job identification in the
timber trade is based on the activity where they are most involved
in spite of multitasking. The specific tasks handled by the service
providers are identified based on the tasks in timber trade where
they have gained the most experience. This is because the
performance of the timber trade activities, particularly in hauling
and loading, requires substantial coordination and non-verbal
communication. Accidents and losses/income reduction (e.g.
from cracks) can be avoided in the process through well-
coordinated activities handled by experienced individuals. The
skills competency among these middlemen is developed through
experience from frequent engagement in timber trade activities,
as there are no formal training programs designed specifically for
them. The service providers refer to the surveyors, scalers,
haulers, loaders, log cutters (chainsaw operators), and transpor-
ters. The surveyors, scalers, and log cutters are much involved in
activities done at the tree farm site such as determining the trees
to be felled, felling the trees, marking logs with cracks or damages,
determining the small end and volume, and making the logs
ready for hauling and transport to the hot deck. The hot deck is
the term for the accessible spots or areas in which the logs for
delivery are assembled for consequent loading into the trucks’
cargo spaces. It is oftentimes close to where the truck is parked or
stationed in preparation for the long hours of loading. The
loaders take charge of loading the logs into the truck bed or cargo
space. Their task is important for the efficiency of transport
because they are the ones who pile the logs on the truck bed. They
are responsible for ensuring that the piling is secured properly to
avoid logs from rolling over and to avoid physical hazards and
accidents for the safety of the rest of the service providers during
the loading activity.

In Agusan del Sur, loading, an activity performed from the hot
deck to the truck, consists of several (10–20) experienced people
to be efficient or to do the task fast and free from hazards. It is
done by some people hoisting the logs while others pull the logs
from the cargo space with bolos having pointed hooks to clinch
the log being tossed up for ease of pulling and piling the logs on
top of one another. The higher the pile of logs on the truck bed,
the riskier it goes because logs have to be stepped on to continue
the piling up to the target height. The height of the pile stops at
the level of the truck’s roof about two meters high from the truck
bed. The transporters take over by the time the loading activity is
done. Prior to starting the long trip ahead, they have to check if
the pertinent documents are intact, especially the necessary
permits and some other provisions such as money, cooking
utensils, food, and extra clothes for transport. Cooking utensils
and food are important provisions, particularly during extended
parking times/schedules and campouts. All of the activities done
by the service providers are carried out in all weather conditions,
except for the times when there are critical announcements
received that threaten personal safety such as that of the National
Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC)
and from the advice of military personnel. Ordinary rains can
hardly stop the timber trade activities (e.g. log cutting, hauling,
loading, and transporting) from moving on because of delivery
schedules at the plant gates and sometimes at piers for national
and international deliveries. However, rains can add to the
hazards faced by the service providers especially during the
hauling and loading activities due to slippery surfaces. But it is
during that time that experienced haulers and loaders can save
the entire operation. Caraga Region has some of its logs being
exported, particularly to China. The activities of the service
providers are done manually, which means brawn power is
essential along with some tools and implements such as
chainsaws, saws, and bolos with pointed hooks.

The network of the timber trade middlemen in Caraga Region.
The middlemen in Caraga Region’s timber trade are perceived as
manipulative and highly profit-driven. This is linked to their rent-
seeking behavior as pointed out in the reviewed articles of this
work. The key informants from the Department of Environment
and Natural Resources, the selected tree farmers and the local
people in Agusan del Sur have such perception particularly.
Additionally, these informants view the middlemen as taking
advantage of the incapacity of the tree farmers to sell their logs
directly to the wood processing companies. Indeed, the tree

Table 5 The function of the service providers in the caraga region.

Type of middlemen Functions

Surveyor – Survey the areas to be harvested to determine the profitability of buying the logs from those areas
– Has sidelines in the loading and unloading of logs and in transporting logs from farm site to hot deck
-Scale logs sometimes

Scaler – Load and unload logs
– Measure the logs for the determination of diameter at breast height following the prescribed
log measurements of their company clients

– Determine the volume of logs per truck for transport decisions
– Classify the quality of harvested logs based on company’s log requirements (e.g. logs with cracks classified into either
peel-able or pulp)

– Do the surveyor’s functions sometimes
– Influence the sorting process of logs by evaluating the log sizes and volumes loaded into the trucks

Hauler – Transport logs from farm site to hot deck
Loader – Load and unload logs (from hot deck to truck and vice versa)
Log cutter/chainsaw operator – Fell the timber and cut the logs based on the required sizes of the wood processing clients
Transporter – Transport logs from hot deck to the company

– Can receive payments from buyer on behalf of the PO holder



farmers cannot sell their logs easily to the said companies because
these companies have to prioritize the delivery of logs from the
purchase-order holders. For efficiency reasons, the companies
prefer to entertain bulk log deliveries, which the tree farmers can
hardly do. This forms the reason for the merchant middlemen’s
deliveries to be always prioritized or accepted by the companies.
The companies use their daily rated capacity of more than a
thousand cubic meters (1164–1514 cubic meters) in aggregate
across Caraga Region in obtaining logs and in scheduling log
deliveries (DENR-FMB, 2018, 2019, 2020). However, all of the
key informants have associated timber trade middlemen as only
composed of merchant middlemen. Their perceptions of
manipulative middlemen are directed to the merchant middle-
men and not to any other middlemen types. This implies the
limited understanding of the key informants and perhaps of
the other timber industry stakeholders who mean timber trade
middlemen as merchant middlemen. Since diverse people have
worked to ensure the regular operations of the timber industry,
the other types of middlemen are important to be examined for
the acknowledgment of their critical contributions.

Furthermore, the key informants have thought of these
middlemen as with shady characters. Yet, they acknowledge
the importance of the middlemen in the timber industry. The
tree farmers prefer to sell their logs to the middlemen because
they pay in cash at the accomplishment of log sale. The DENR
key informants have thought the same, as according to them, the
timber industry could not do anything without the middlemen’s
help. The local people have the same perception on the
importance of the middlemen since the middlemen can free
the tree farmers from the hassles and additional costs in
delivering logs to the companies. The tree farmer-key informants
have admitted their lack of skills for the log cutting and transport
jobs. They have considered such jobs as extremely risky. The
regular operations of the timber trade in the Caraga Region are
owed to these middlemen who handle the trading activities well
for the timber industry. The middlemen’s activities can be
observed in accessible areas, where clusters of logs can be seen at
the roadsides. This is a common sight in Agusan del Sur as
the epicenter of timber trade. Meanwhile, Fig. 2 shows the
arrangement of these middlemen between the tree farmers and
the wood processors. It also shows the interactions among these
middlemen as they avail of the services of each other. Among the
middlemen in Fig. 2, the service providers are the ones who work
closely with the tree farmers who also monitor them. The agent
middlemen approach the tree farmers for sale negotiation
purposes; but negotiations between them are brief relative to
the job performance of the service providers in the tree farm site.
The tree farmers have to lead the service providers to their tree
farms to point the trees to be felled, monitor the service providers
in their manual field activities, and have to be present during the

log volume computation for transparency. The tree farmers can
ask the service providers for clarifications should they have
doubts in the log volume computation. The result of the log
volume computation determines the consequent income of the
tree farmers.

After reaching an agreement with the tree farmers regarding
the manner of log sale, the agent middlemen turn over the
transaction to the service providers for the rest of the manual and
laborious activities. The strikers also deal with the tree farmers
when they want to buy some logs from them. On the other hand,
the merchant middlemen are close to their wood processing
clients who issue purchase orders specifying the volume, the
price, and the date of delivery to the companies. The purchase
orders are awarded to the PO holders to comply. Although
the non-PO holders and the strikers are merchant middlemen,
they are not issued with the purchase orders. Yet, they can still
sell directly to the wood processing companies but not on a
prioritized basis unlike the PO holders. Sale of logs to the
companies by the non-PO holders and the strikers’ results to long
waiting and queuing periods until the plant gates open for their
deliveries. It is believed that the PO holders have the privilege of
special rates with the award of the purchase orders. There is a
transparency issue with these rates as these are not freely shared
in the timber trade system in the Caraga Region. To meet their
required log volume within the scheduled date, the PO holders
purchase the logs bought by the non-PO holders and the strikers
from the tree farmers. With that, the non-PO holders and the
strikers can act as log assemblers/consolidators for the PO
holders. The PO holders are the expected merchant middlemen to
deliver logs to the wood processors under the terms specified in
their purchase orders.

Conditions with which the timber trade middlemen operate.
The timber trade middlemen in Caraga Region operate simply to
keep costs down as much as possible. Table 6 describes how they
perform their intermediary tasks for a living in the region. The
merchant and the agent middlemen use handy materials to
accomplish their transactions such as mobile phones, calculators,
pens, and notebooks. Their functions/jobs involve only light
activities such as discussion, negotiation, linkage development and
maintenance, computation, and recordkeeping. The service pro-
viders have to carry ropes, chain saws, panel saws, calculators, axes,
and bolos with pointed hook ends (locally known as “pantok”) in
anticipation of their laborious work of felling trees and cutting,
hauling, loading, and transporting logs. They get information from
their friends and fellow middlemen about the location of their
potential clients/customers. These potential clients are the tree
farmers who are the log supply sources looking out for log buyers
in the vicinity. Transactions among these middlemen are held

Fig. 2 The Timber Trade Middlemen in Caraga Region. The general arrangement of the timber trade middlemen in Caraga Region (between the tree
farmers as log source and the wood processing plants as log destination prior to formal market release).



informally in company locations (particularly among the PO
holders), at farm sites, and at home for the merchant middlemen.
Although the agent middlemen and the service providers conduct
their transactions at home and at farm sites, they entertain
transactions along roadsides, so that they would not incur any cost
for holding discussions and finalizing agreements and arrange-
ments (e.g. work schedules and payment turnovers). By holding
such activities along the road, they can easily/conveniently depart
from the place at the conclusion of their meetings.

All middlemen prefer face-to-face communication; but should
that communication be impossible, call and text may do. Payment
should be made in cash among these middlemen. For their
mobility, single motor vehicles are used for economic reasons
(fuel efficiency for less fuel consumption) and for ease in
maneuvering heavy traffics in the cities/town centers and any
topography in the timber areas. All of the middlemen serve the
log needs of the veneer and plywood companies in Butuan City.
Possession of proper licenses and permits is perceived as an
important opportunity among these middlemen. They can avoid
trouble/run-ins with the regulatory authorities when they have
the proper regulatory documents. (Table 7). The middlemen
perceive their functions as essential because value addition will
result from their activities. For instance, the middlemen’s services
increase the value of logs when cut in required lengths (2.8 m
usually) and moved to accessible locations for loading. Log
buying and selling values increase with the care from the
middlemen’s services (e.g. cutting the logs without cracks, making
the logs available close to the hot decks for pick up, and
transporting the logs to the plant gates). On this aspect, they
consider skills upgrading and attendance to trainings and
seminars as necessary. Making themselves a part of the
government-accredited organizations is helpful among them as
well (Table 7). With the licenses and permits of these middlemen
as well as their affiliation to government-accredited organizations,
their involvement in timber trade is likely to be mainstreamed
properly. The necessary interventions for their welfare and
efficiency in their activities are likely to be addressed properly as
well. On the other hand, the agent middlemen’s and the service
providers’ skills can be improved with their exposure to
appropriate R&D on technological innovations. The service
providers consider skills upgrading particularly important to
their crafts. They can have better incomes with their improved
skills and value-adding contributions such as reduction of cracks
in logs and higher transport efficiency, among others.

Table 8 shows further descriptions on the manner of
operations among the same middlemen. It is apparent that their
operations are not mechanized and aided with high technology
levels. Every essential work is done manually. The reason for this
has to do with costs and the availability of skilled service
providers in the timber areas. Draft animals (carabaos) and single
motor vehicles are used in the transport of logs from the farm
site to the hot deck for the loading at the truck to follow. The
middlemen in the performance of their tasks are cognizant of the
risks around them. The merchant and the agent middlemen have
similar risks that are associated with personal safety and price
fluctuation. The service providers have occupational safety to face
in addition to the other risks on personal safety/security and
unexpected changes in service payments. The source of personal
safety/security issues in the areas where these middlemen work is
the problem of insurgency in the forested parts aside from the
hostile business competition. The economic risk of price
fluctuation is due to the unexpected changes in the buying price
of the wood processing companies due to log cracks. Logs of
peelable type can be valued low based on the pulpwood rates
when cracks can allow pens to get through. This is cascaded to the
agent middlemen and the service providers to avoid incomeT


























































































































reduction. The service providers have occupational safety issues
due to the possibility of deadly insect and snake bites and the
manual operations that they have to do with great caution.

The merchant middlemen who provide the logs to the wood
processing companies incur costs that are received as incomes by
the tree farmers, the agent middlemen, the service providers, and
the regulatory entities. They incur payments involved in the
buying and transport of logs from the tree farm sites to the hot
decks and then to the plant gates of the wood processors in the
timber trade. From the cost data provided by the merchant
middlemen for logs of peelable type, the shares of the tree
farmers, the agent middlemen, the service providers, and the
regulatory agencies to the per cubic meter log price are estimated
(Fig. 3). The highest proportion is the share of the tree farmers at
62%, which is the cost of log paid by the merchant middlemen.
The second highest is the share of the service providers at 33%,
which refers to the accumulated cost of the services rendered by
the said middlemen. The lowest proportion is that of the agent
middlemen at 2%. The share of the regulatory agencies is around
3%. These shares are changed in the pulpwood log type, because
of the reduced log cost received as income by the tree farmers as
shown in Fig. 4. Table 9 also provides data that suggest the shares
of the tree farmers, the agent, and the merchant middlemen, the
service providers, and the regulatory agencies to the unit prices of
the peelable logs and the pulpwood type of logs. For logs sold to
the wood processing companies, the non-PO holders and the
strikers receive a higher share of around 36% based on their net
profit of 1640.02 for the peelable type and 7% based on their net
profit of 158 per cubic meter for the pulpwood type. With respect
to the unit price of the peelable type, the shares of the tree
farmers, the agent middlemen, the service providers, and the
regulatory agencies are 39.7%, 1.3%, 21.4%, and 1.5%, respec-
tively. These shares have increased to 41.8%, 2.7%, 45%, and 3.1%
in the same order for the pulpwood type. Among the merchant
middlemen, the PO holders earn the highest estimated profits of
51.5% and 21% of the unit prices of the peelable and the
pulpwood types, respectively. The tree farmers have the least
profit of all the industry players here, considering the growing
time of trees for logs of about 5–7 years. The rest of the timber
industry players who are the middlemen earn their incomes in
just a matter of days.

However, the price data at plant gates are not willingly shared
across the timber supply chain in Caraga Region. The PO holders
who know about these prices are silent while the agent
middlemen and the service providers know only that these
prices are large without the specific amounts. This information
indicates an underlying trust and transparency issue in the
timber supply chain. In the estimation of merchant middlemen’s
profits earlier, the conservative 3-year average prices published
by the DENR-FMB were used for the peelable and the pulpwood
types to approximate the prices at plant gates for the logs
sold directly to the wood-processing companies. Based on that
approximation in the sales part of Table 9, the PO and the non-
PO holders including the strikers can get a profit of around 50%
and 36% of the gross income per cubic meter for the peelable
type, and 21% and 7% of the gross income per cubic meter for
the pulpwood type, respectively. These can be earned if the logs
are sold directly to the wood processing companies. If the non-
PO holders and the strikers opt to sell their logs to the PO
holders, they would not incur positive net incomes as shown in
Table 9. For this part, the PO holders value the unit prices of logs
at around 49% and 79% of the DENR-FMB’s log prices for the
peelable and the pulpwood type, respectively. Costs and
payments for the services of the middlemen in the timber supply
chain as well as the required fees do not vary by log type.
However, the log diameter can make price differences since theT



































































































Table 8 The manner of performing their functions and the risks the timber trade middlemen face.

Type of

Manner of performing their functions Risks faced by intermediaries General level
of risks


– Manual – Security/safety: encountered high-tempered people that led to
violence; waylaying and impudent behavior of revolutionary
groups in the areas of timber trade operations; sometimes death
threats from competitors Economic: unexpected buying price
changes at company plant gates (sometimes led to bankruptcy)

– Medium to
high risk


– Manual – Security/safety: traveling in remote areas with large sums of
money; waylaying and impudent behavior of revolutionary
groups; not speaking the native language of a specific place
Economic: unexpected price adjustments by clients (merchant

– Medium to
high risk

Service provider – Manual; with implements (e.g.”pantok” and
saws), single-motor vehicles, and draft
animals for log transport

– Physical and safety: risk in the loading and unloading logs;
prone to accidents such as bitten by deadly snakes and insects,
hurt by fallen debris, and accidental fall/run over by logs

– Physical and safety: risk in the scaling, cutting, and transporting
of logs

– Security/safety: threats from revolutionary groups
Economic: earnings are reduced due to slippage (from cracks
in logs or no proper arrangement of logs)

– High risk

Fig. 3 Share of the Tree Farmers, Agent Middlemen, Service Providers and Other Expenses to the Total Cost Incurred by the Merchant Middlemen on a Per
Cubic Meter of Log (Peelable Log Type).

Fig. 4 Share of the Tree Farmers, Agent Middlemen, Service Providers and Other Expenses to the Total Cost Incurred by the Middlemen on a Per Cubic
Meter of Log (Pulpwood Log Type).



price of the peelable type (large diameter size: above 30 cm) is
much higher than that of the pulpwood type (small diameter size:
below 30 cm). Among the wood processing companies, the
peelable type is preferred to be without cracks to produce quality
veneer and plywood products. The tree farmers hope to produce
and sell peelable logs without cracks for good income. The
pulpwood type may be comprised of large branches and other
useful parts of the felled tree, which are utilized for other wood-
based products such as particle boards, matchsticks, toothpicks,
pallets, and boxes. Table 9 also shows the estimated payments for
the middlemen’s services based on the log types and the mode of
selling (e.g. selling to the PO holders and selling to the wood
processing companies). The said payments for the middlemen’s
services approximate the incomes of these middlemen.

Issues and concerns affecting the timber trade middlemen.
Table 10 shows the issues and concerns of the timber trade
middlemen in Caraga Region, which are closely related to the
reported risks among these middlemen in Table 8. Survey data
and key informant responses suggest the merchant and the agent
middlemen as more concerned on their earnings, while the ser-
vice providers as more concerned on their security at work than

any other issues/concerns. Unexpected price changes are a chal-
lenge for both the merchant and the agent middlemen, because
they hope for large profits as final trade outcomes. Price changes
along the chain can surprise the middlemen, as these changes
happen without prior notice, including the purchase orders issued
by the wood processing companies. The possible reasons for these
price changes are quality differences from what is expected of the
delivered logs, delays in delivery, and reduction in prices at world
markets. The security issues faced by the service providers are due
to the hazards with the rampant insurgency in the timber areas.
Forested areas in the region are known to provide good covers for
the whereabouts of the rebel forces. Armed rebel groups ask for
revolutionary taxes for the protection of people and businesses in
the forested areas. Failure to give in to the tax demands from
these groups means potential life threats.

The service providers are generally poor individuals who are
dependent on timber trade transactions for continuous support to
their households. They are affected easily if armed rebel groups
patrol in the areas where they work. Chance encounters between
the military and the rebel forces can put the service providers in
great danger due to the possibility of crossfires. Security is also an
issue among the merchant and the agent middlemen for the same

Table 9 Cost and returns of the merchant middlemen based on manner of sale.

Particulars Non-PO holder & striker (selling
directly wood processing

Non-PO holder & striker (selling to
PO holders)

PO holder (selling to wood
processing companies)

Peelable Pulpwood Peelable Pulpwood Peelable Pulpwood

Amount (Php) Amount (Php) Amount (Php) Amount (Php) Amount (Php) Amount (Php)

Sales per cu.m. 4534.59 2152.99 2220 1700 4534.59 2152.99
Less: Cost of log per cu.m. 1800 900 1800 900 2200 1700
Pre-transport cost (per cu.m.)
Agent’s fee 58.81 58.81 58.81 58.81
Surveying 38.88 38.88 38.88 38.88
Cutting of logs 50.6 50.6 50.6 50.6
Scaling 8.33 8.33 8.33 8.33
Hauling and loading (including
transporting from farm to hot deck)

282.09 282.09 282.09 282.09

Transport cost (per cu.m.)
Transportation 583.1 583.1 583.1 583.1
Parking fee 6.66 6.66 6.66 6.66
Others (per cu.m.)
Processing fee 63.31 63.31 63.31 63.31
Toll fee 3.33 3.33 3.33 3.33
Total cost 2894.57 1995 2894.57 1995 2200 1700
Net profit (per cu.m.) 1640.02 ($32.43) 158 ($3.12) −694.57 (−

−295 (−$5.83) 2334.59 ($46.16) 453 ($8.95)

The exchange rate is US$1 = Php50.57. Figures in parentheses are in USD.

Table 10 Issues and concerns in the timber supply chain of caraga region.

Relevant Actors Problems Encountered No. %

Merchant middlemen – Threats from armed groups * *
– Unexpected price changes 36 70.59
– Security issues in areas where they conduct business transactions 12 23.53

Agent middlemen – Threat from armed groups * *
– Unexpected price changes 23 65.22
– Security issues in areas where they conduct business transactions 3 13.04

Service Provider – Occupational safety issues (no insurance protection from any untoward incidents) * *
– Manually done activities that result in slippage if logs have cracks or pile not done properly * *
– Security issues in areas where they work 56 17.07

Asterisks mean based on key informant responses.



reason of tax demands from the rebel groups. The other source of
security issue among the merchant and the agent middlemen is
the threats from hostile competitors. Heated arguments between
or among competitors can lead to loss of lives. The service
providers are also concerned about occupational safety, because
of the nature of their work. Felling trees and hauling and loading
logs are manually done regardless of weather conditions. The
manual and laborious works with logs are already risky to the
service providers. There are no paraphernalia and gears to use for
their protection. Risks of being rolled over or fallen by logs are
quite possible. Aside from that, bites from deadly insects and
snakes cause life threats, since these organisms and animals are
rampant in the forested areas where the service providers work.
Injuries and casualties from accidents and from those elements
mean work stoppage. Thus, the middlemen are challenged with
occupational safety issues, especially that they do not have any
insurance protection. Also, the manual work among the service
providers means prone to slippage due to reduced log quality
from unintended cracks. Slippage from the manual activities
implies reduced income among the service providers.

The timber trade middlemen have been perceived differently. In
Caraga Region, they are known for being manipulative/exploi-
tative, highly profit-driven and highly rent-seeking. The tree
farmers are often dissatisfied with the outcomes of selling logs to
the middlemen. They are disappointed without choice on the low
buying prices among these people for the logs produced for more
than five years. Nonetheless, this study has provided the baseline
information to induce understanding about the background,
functions and challenges among the middlemen for the timber
industry in Caraga Region. The middlemen aspect is a huge
information gap across the region’s timber industry. This study
has addressed the gap accordingly by examining the middlemen
who have been indistinguishable/incognito in the region’s timber
industry/supply chain. For traceability and ethical standards
along the said chain, it is important to examine the middlemen
aspect for insights.

The findings show that the timber trade middlemen have an
essential role in the timber trade operations of Caraga Region.
These middlemen are responsible for the regular operation of the
timber industry, involving the daily distribution of more than 100
truckloads of logs to the different log consumers in the region and
other places. The various types of middlemen doing various
intermediary tasks are a significant force to reckon with in that
particular operation. These middlemen are possibly large in
number, which also implies the large size and significance of the
timber industry in Caraga Region’s economy. Facilitation services
in the timber industry have made these middlemen gainfully
employed in timber trade where multi-tasking and high level of
coordination are combined for successful intermediary tasks.
Interestingly, the jobs of the middlemen in the timber industry
are challenging, which require determined ingenuity and skills
sets. The middlemen in the region’s timber trade have mastered
their jobs through personal experience only. In spite of this, no
entity in the region has tried to study on these intermediary tasks
for proper R&D, innovation and training opportunities.

Although the middlemen are highly necessary for their inter-
mediary tasks, they are still not guaranteed of profitable/rewarding
outcomes. The non-PO holders and the strikers can possibly incur
losses if they cannot penetrate easily the wood processing com-
panies with their logs. Yet, the said middlemen have sustained
their participation in the timber trade. It indicates that there are
available alternatives through which they can recoup their losses,
which are interesting to be documented. In the performance of

intermediary tasks, price information is essential. However, an
information gap is noted on this aspect, especially that the
transmitted price information excludes the log buying prices of the
wood processing companies. The said prices of the wood pro-
cessing companies are not freely shared in the timber supply
chain. With this, there is no reference to use in evaluating the
appropriateness of the prices set by the merchant middlemen for
the logs of the tree farmers. This lack of price information can
encourage rent-seeking behaviors among the merchant middle-
men particularly. In Caraga Region, the absence of adequate price
information also contributes to the transparency issue in the
chain, particularly in the aspect of equitable distribution of
opportunities and wealth in the timber industry.

Meanwhile, the variety of middlemen in the chain signifies the
numerous activities to be done to secure the log supply for wood
processing and the availability of cash incomes for the timber
trade participants. The middlemen are believed to be many.
However, there is no certainty as to their number because they
continue to participate in timber trade like phantoms. The reason
for this is due to the absence of a registration system for mid-
dlemen. For several years, the number of these middlemen in
Caraga Region is not approximated. There is a huge information
gap on the aspect of middlemen, which can potentially persist the
transparency issue along the timber supply chain. There are no
existing records in terms of the middlemen’s identities, compe-
tencies, functions, activities, and issues. Thus, no vital informa-
tion can be used to chart the future of the timber industry in
partnership with the middlemen.They cannot be represented in
development discussions in spite of their significance in the
timber trade. Holistic development is not also possible for the
timber industry, because of the lack of understanding about
the middlemen aspect. The disclosure on the part of the mid-
dlemen can facilitate in understanding the development direc-
tions of the timber industry in the region. It will address the
lingering transparency issue, which can improve the functioning
of the timber supply chain. The low price issue can also be
resolved with the support of the players in the timber supply
chain where the middlemen are an important part.

Furthermore, the proper registration of the timber trade
middlemen can attract additional beneficial opportunities. Tra-
ceability and practices conforming to global sustainable forestry
standards can be defined and established for all chain players to
observe and follow. Having these properly incorporated in the
timber supply chain is a step towards strengthening and rede-
fining the timber industry standards for competitiveness and
sustainable development. It is a way to institute ethical standards
and address welfare concerns across the timber supply chain.
Discussions on welfare can be launched with the high possibility
of success due to the increased availability of information for
strategic actions. In Caraga Region, policy issues are complicated
and have slowed down the activities in the timber supply chain.
The regulations have increased the anxiety in the chain because
of the introduced processes that have also evolved to get through
with the said regulations. The case of Caraga Region’s timber
industry conforms to the findings of Dong and He (2017) and
Pontecorvo (2018) on being highly regulated. The implementa-
tion of EO 23 had tightened the regulatory regime in the
industry, which was met with drastic decline in log/timber pro-
duction and social chaos due to the displaced workers. The
transition during that time was difficult, but the middlemen had
helped somehow the other industry players to get back to do log/
timber business again. EO 23 had been successful on the aspect of
protecting the natural and protected forest areas, yet it has
induced some drawbacks. Product mobility is weighed down by
the stringent requirements (e.g. permits) and transparency issue
has remained unresolved.



The middlemen’s services may have contributed to the come-
back of the timber industry after the implementation of EO 23.
The additional stringent measures have offered opportunities for
the middlemen to take part with facilitation services for the tree
farmers and the wood processors. Particularly, the middlemen
have mastered the policies before log cutting and in the transport
of logs. The tree farmers avail of the middlemen’s services because
the middlemen know the requirements for the legitimate trans-
actions in the timber supply chain. This is the same reason why
wood processing companies call on the middlemen for their log
needs. The middlemen have learned to navigate with the forestry/
timber regulations and regulatory agencies in Caraga Region in a
way that has emphasized the importance of their involvement in
the timber industry. However, it is not clear in the timber
industry if their rent-seeking behavior is in effect for this matter,
especially that their tree-farmer clients have incomplete knowl-
edge about the policies and their associated processes (e.g. permit
and environmental tax payments). The government regulatory
and monitoring agencies are all subject to the Anti-Red Tape Act
(ARTA) of 2007. However, red tapes and grease money are still
believed to exist in the timber supply chain particularly among
those agencies. Although essential information about the reg-
ulatory and monitoring processes is posted in conspicuous places
for transparency, it is believed that there are clandestine activities
that still violate the ARTA law, which form part of the costs and
risks of the daily activities of the timber trade middlemen.

Thus, the existence of the middlemen in the timber supply
chain in Caraga Region is induced by the huge need of facilitation
to undertake the activities in the chain in appropriate timing. The
middlemen also exist to enhance the efficiency in the chain and
enable the key players to meet their respective market responsi-
bilities. They have dealt with the widespread imperfections and
various transparency gaps in the chain for their clients to con-
tinue with their regular operations. They are an essential com-
ponent of the timber supply chain who need to be considered as
equal partners in timber industry development in Caraga Region.
Such is a compelling reason for them to be recognized and
mainstreamed properly for enhanced industry coordination also.
Similar with the other industry players, the middlemen have
concerns that could affect the outcomes of their jobs and affect as
well the work outcomes of their clients. The essential functions of
the middlemen are apparently interconnected with all other
industry players. Not paying attention to the welfare concerns of
these middlemen would slow down the development of the
timber industry. The middlemen’s services are carried out under
conditions that require a high level of creativity and skills,
because of the highly risky situations involved. Strategic solutions
for their welfare concerns are necessary to improve their effi-
ciency and eventually the transparency of the timber supply
chain. These solutions refer to further R&D and knowledge
sharing to configure the improvement of their skills and
knowledge as well as their work environment through capability
building programs and through technological and logistical
innovations to enhance efficiency.

Conclusion and recommendation
The timber trade middlemen have shown a great deal of service to
both upstream (tree farmers) and downstream (wood processors
and product distributors) parts of the timber supply chain. They
perform various functions and assume varied roles to accomplish
the necessary activities in proper timing. The study implies that
the timber trade middlemen in the region have the ingenuity and
skills sets that provide regularity to the timber trade operations in
the region, Although these middlemen have been alleged of
having rent-seeking behavior, their contribution to the timber

industry is significant. Caraga Region remains the Timber Cor-
ridor of the Philippines. Over 100 truckloads of logs are dis-
tributed everyday across the region and to other places. The jobs
of the middlemen are commendable for ensuring daily that level
of accomplishment for the timber industry. With this, the timber
industry is shown to be a highly significant component of the
Caraga Region’s economy. The country may have the largest
number of timber trade middlemen in Caraga Region, capable to
sustain trade operations for the local, national and international
markets. There may be abnormal profits earned and manipula-
tions done by these middlemen, but this study has attributed such
practices to the imperfections in the timber industry. There are
many transparency issues that can enable them to behave with
rent-seeking tendencies. In fact, no records about these middle-
men can be referred to for knowledge about their identities,
practices and concerns. This study has produced the baseline
information to understand them and to induce their proper
mainstreaming as equal partners in timber industry development.

The current condition of so much information and transpar-
ency gap can allow the middlemen to persist with their manip-
ulative/exploitative behavior. It is difficult to institute responsibility
and traceability in the timber supply chain without reliable
information and adequate knowledge. This study has focused to
address the gaps and issues concerning the middlemen to start the
strengthening of the timber supply chain for further development
and competitiveness. It is a necessary step to chart the future
directions of the industry through comprehensive development
platforms and agenda in partnership with the timber trade mid-
llemen. On the other hand, these middlemen are faced with for-
midable risks that include security threats, occupational safety
risks, and price fluctuations. These risks can be addressed by
strategic measures such as R&D, proper enrollment system for the
middlemen, logistical improvement, continuous capability build-
ing programs and innovation platforms. Caraga Region is for-
tunate to have ingenious industry players who can deal with the
difficulties of their work environments to keep the industry afloat.
The middlemen are certainly the individuals to reckon with for
this aspect. Thus, the following recommendations are laid out for
the groundwork of developing the timber industry in Caraga
Region with strategic actions:

1. Further studies are recommended to take off from the
findings of this study. Although this study has strived to
produce the baseline information about the middlemen,
there are still important questions left unanswered. This
study has not elaborated on the rent-seeking behavior of
the middlemen to check for the veracity of it in Caraga
Region’s timber industry and to document and synthesize
the information on the situations and drivers of such
behavior. The price information gap between and among
the tree farmers and the middlemen including the wood
processors is an interesting facet, so that the price setting in
the timber industry can be explained. The selling and
buying process is even in need of details to enhance
understanding on the process. Aside from this, there are
other ways of buying and selling trees such as by area/
hectare and by stumpage. These are among the important
areas to investigate to address the transparency issues along
the chain. The dynamics in the timber supply chain has not
been also captured for the same purpose. At this point, the
leaders and the followers in the chain cannot yet be
established. The industry has not properly recognized yet
the middlemen between the tree farmers and the wood
processors. It is difficult to approximate their number in
Caraga Region. This study also recommends on examining
further the welfare concerns of these middlemen in the



chain so that short-, medium- and long-term solutions can
be identified to address the said concerns. R&D for
technological support is also recommended to configure
the technologies appropriate for use among the service
providers, the agent and the merchant middlemen.

2. This study finds the security and safety issues faced by the
middlemen as indeed risky for the performance of their
functions. Discussions and platforms for peace programs in
the work areas and for occupational safety protocols in the
work environments of these middlemen are important to be
carried out for them to be assured of their overall safety.
Online platforms can be explored for business negotiations,
meetings and payment remittances among the middlemen.
The current technologies such as apps development in
support to the middlemen’s transactions can be configured
so that they do not have to conduct business activities in a
risky work environment.

3. Transparency issues in the timber supply chain need to be
addressed with strategic and intelligent measures such as
R&D and use of current internet-based systems. The use of
websites of organizations and associations can be explored in
which the key players such as the tree farmers, the various
middlemen, and other entities in the timber supply chain can
be gathered to get interconnected. The timber trade middle-
men need to catch up on this to fast track the development of
the timber industry. For this matter, the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources has to be creative with
its approach to draw massive support among the industry
players for this aspect. Also, the actions to be taken will have
to abide by the ethical standards to earn respect and trust
among the industry players. The industry players must be
considered equal partners for industry development, espe-
cially the timber trade middlemen.

4. The application of the Nudge theory by Professor Richard
Thaler is important to be explored also to elicit support
from the middlemen. Relevant nudges can be determined
through social experiments to identify them properly.
Nudges are of many forms, which can convey deliberately
the important messages of support and benefits among the
timber industry players. They can draw willingness to
participate and sometimes volunteerism from the target
stakeholders, which enable active participation. Also,
potential solutions with nudges have high possibilities of
success and sustainability. Particularly, studies on potential
nudges and their proper administration are important to
pursue for the proper mainstreaming of the timber trade
middlemen in Caraga Region.

5. Discussions on the relevant policy actions are important to
be carried out. Particularly, there is a need to review the
current policies to check for their relevance and potential
constraints with traceability and transparency along the
timber supply chain. Relevant policies such as the proper
recognition and mainstreaming of the middlemen in this
study need to be carefully planned. For that aspect,
transparency in the timber supply chain is resolved step
by step. Also, the future agenda towards further develop-
ment of the timber industry needs special attention to
determine the policy support to attain the industry’s
development goals.

Data availability
The data of this research is available upon request from the first
author, due to the shared data ownership with the funding

Received: 16 May 2021; Accepted: 25 April 2022;

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The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and
Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) is
highly acknowledged for its funding support to the research resulting to this paper.

Competing interests
The authors declare no competing interests.

Ethical approval
This research was reviewed and approved for conduct by the academic councils and the
Research Ethics Committee of the lead implementing agency. The Declaration of Hel-
sinki was adhered to throughout the research process especially in keeping the personal
information of the respondents confidential.

Informed consent
Informed consent was also obtained from all respondents and participants in the conduct
of this research in the municipalities of Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur, and Agusan del
Norte, Philippines. The identities of the respondents are strictly kept confidential to
ensure anonymity to their participation in the survey and interview activities.

Additional information
Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to Shiela G. Reyes.

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© The Author(s) 2022



  • Assessing timber trade middlemen for development policy actions: a case study in the Caraga region, Philippines
    • Introduction
    • Review of literature
    • The timber trade middlemen: critical role and activities
    • On the welfare of the timber trade middlemen
    • Methodology
      • Area of the study
      • Selection of respondents and data collection
      • Method of data analysis
    • Results
      • The middlemen of timber trade in Caraga Region
      • Critical functions and network of the middlemen in timber trade
      • The network of the timber trade middlemen in Caraga Region
      • Conditions with which the timber trade middlemen operate
      • Issues and concerns affecting the timber trade middlemen
    • Discussion
    • Conclusion and recommendation
    • Data availability
    • References
    • References
    • Acknowledgements
    • Competing interests
    • Additional information

Wk 7 Discussion (Due in 1 day) Urgent/Australia’s regional forest agreement process.pdf

Forest Policy and Economics 7 (2005) 579–588

Australia’s regional forest agreement process: analysis of the

potential and problems

Gary Musselwhite
, Gamini Herath


School of Business, La Trobe University Albury-Wodonga Campus, Wodonga, 3690 Victoria, Australia

School of Business, La Trobe University, Wodonga Campus, Wodonga, 3690 Victoria, Australia

Accepted 19 November 2003


The 1990s heralded a new era in forest policy in Australia with the introduction of The National Forest Policy Statement

which provided a framework under which native forest resources would be protected whilst also permitting ecologically

sustainable timber harvesting. However, the implementation of the statement through the Regional Forest Agreements by state

governments appear to contradict the conditions of the policy. Political bias towards development imperatives in implementing

RFAs is evident. Community involvement in RFAs has not been satisfactory for sustainable forest use and management, with

ongoing dissatisfaction from some stakeholder groups. There is still increased demand for protection of what remains of the

various forest reserves. Aboriginal issues have not been settled in line with the expectation of the policy. There are continuing

conflicts between the Commonwealth Government and some state governments.

D 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Regional forest agreements; Public choice; Interest groups; Politics; Forest policy

1. Introduction technology, and wilderness, biodiversity, and other

The forest sector in Australia provides a multi-

tude of products and employment to a substantial

section of the population. Since European settlement

Australian forests have been indiscriminately used

removing two thirds of the original tree cover. By

1920, land had been widely exploited with existing

1389-9341/$ – see front matter D 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


* Corresponding author. Tel.: +61-260583837; fax: +61-


E-mail addresses: [email protected] (G. Herath),

[email protected] (G. Musselwhite).
Present affiliation: Associate Professor of Economics, Deakin

University, Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Victoria, Australia.

forest values were under threat. Australian forest

policy developed in this environment that valued

forest exploitation. The timber industry requiring

unfettered access to wood resources from native

forests for domestic needs as well as export wood-

chip and paper pulp. The taxation benefits and

subsidies for land clearing further accelerated the

decline in forested land.

An important feature of Australian forestry is the

dominance of public institutions. Nearly 75% of the

forest land is in the public sector which means that

forest management in Australia is primarily the

management of state forests. Constitutionally, forest

resources are under the jurisdiction of state govern-

G. Musselwhite, G. Herath / Forest Policy and Economics 7 (2005) 579–588580

ments although the Commonwealth Government can

intervene under various powers. The wood using

industries are highly-dependent on the state govern-

ments for their forest resources. Because the govern-

ment was so closely involved in the forest sector it

was inevitable that sector investment and perform-

ance were heavily influenced by political and

bureaucratic interventions and objectives. Existing

evidence clearly indicates that past government pol-

icies favoured the timber industry over conservation

interests (Dargavel, 1998a; Herath, 2002). The first

movements to preserve national parks occurred in the

nineteenth century, ironically to preserve the native

forests for future forestry enterprises.

In the 1950s, community dissatisfaction over

forest exploitation spawned environmental awareness

and the emergence of a number of interest groups.

The Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA),

the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and

Australian Wilderness Society (AWS) and the vari-

ous state level national parks associations are exam-

ples of such interest groups (McKercher, 1998).

These environmental groups increasingly challenged

the acceptability of extensive harvesting of the for-

ests. These groups focused their campaigns for forest

protection on the state because the state controlled

the managing agencies and was the arena where

acrimonious conflicts had to be fought (Dargavel,

1998b). These groups generally articulate their con-

cerns through collective activities or by directing

votes in marginal seats to influence forest policy to

promote their own interests. High profile forest

issues such as the Lake Pedder and Franklin Dam

issue in Tasmania and logging in Tasmania, New

South Wales (NSW) and Queensland among others

(Kellow, 1989) serve to galvanise public support for

forest protection. Many other groups such as the

indigenous people, tourism operators, bushwalkers

were intertwined in most forest conflicts.

Governments attempt to maximize their political

opportunities by aligning with those interests that

wield greater political power. As a result, political

parties have won power and environmentalists have

won concessions often in the form of protective

legislation or new protected areas (Davis, 1989).

The success of the Labour Party in the 1983

election was partly due to active campaign of the

wilderness movement against the Federal Liberal

Government over the Franklin dam issues. Com-

monwealth Government involvement peaked during

the 1980–1989s, largely triggered by a recognition

that some of the major environmental conflicts at

the time required involvement of the Common-

wealth Government. In New South Wales, after

the pro-logging Greiner Liberal Government was

elected in 1988, the wilderness movement turned to

the Commonwealth Government to proclaim the

south eastern forests under its heritage legislation

(Gerritsen, 1990). In the southwest Tasmanian

wilderness conflicts, interest groups used direct

political lobbying as a critical element in their

strategy. This lobbying captured the important

swing vote in marginal seats and helped the labour

government, which advocated the preservation of

the southwest Tasmania.

The interest groups also attempt to capture the

bureaucracies which form part of the governments

supportive institutional environment. Many institu-

tions represent very narrow interests, reflecting the

dominance of the logging and milling industry.

Historically, the state forests and the early national

parks were only reserved against opposition from

agricultural interests and the well entrenched Lands

Department (Dargavel, 1998b). Recently, the for-

ested national parks were reserved against opposi-

tion from the forest industries and the state forest

services. In delivering the needs of many interest

groups, the governments have to find some way of

satisfying its own power base. The interest groups,

bureaucracy and politically sensitive governments

have brought significant changes to Australian forest

policy in the 1990s, which is a strong contrast to

those that existed a century earlier.

This political approach to forest policy did not lead

to any resolution of some of the major conflicts

because governments tend to follow a path of least

resistance, a course that is perceived to be politically

least problematic, rather than what is deemed ecolog-

ically rational or necessary. These approaches have

provoked intense conflict among the stakeholders

including state and the Commonwealth Government.

Some of these conflicts have been politically very

expensive for governments (Carron, 1993; Dargavel,


The 1990s heralded a new era in forest policy in

Australia. In 1992, the then Prime Minister Paul

Tasmania had expressed its intention to continue management

of its resource as set out in the Tasmanian Forests and Forest

Industry Strategy (Australia, 1992).

G. Musselwhite, G. Herath / Forest Policy and Economics 7 (2005) 579–588 581

Keating announced a new strategy for the protection

of native forests. The policy represented a consen-

sus between the Commonwealth and States in the

form of the National Forest Policy Statement

(NFPS), which provided a framework under which

forest resources would be protected and sustainably

used (Australia, 1992). This is a comprehensive

package with a mandate to include all stakeholder

groups in a consensual negotiations of forest land

allocation. The NFPS reflects a departure from the

traditional approach of centralised decision making

to a participatory model emphasizing open discus-

sion and the recognition of different stakeholder

groups and their values. The NFPS established a

new direction in forest policy at both Common-

wealth and State levels that would eventuate in the

signing of Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) as

the approach to the sustainable use and management

of forest resources in Australia. Nearly 10 years

have elapsed since the adoption of the RFA process

but many of the problems still remain unresolved. A

comprehensive understanding of the economic,

political, environmental, institutional and social

dimensions of the RFA process would provide

valuable insight into the policy making process

and their failures.

According to Public Choice Theory, government

decisions on forest policy are subject to pressure

from interest groups, lobbying and voting and self-

interest, in the political market. The political pur-

pose of the RFA process, although not explicitly

stated, was to take forest issues off the political

agenda by securing Commonwealth and State co-

operation (Dargavel, 1998b). It is hypothesised in

this paper that the RFA process was dictated by a

constellation of interest groups. The political and

bureaucratic opportunities that governments dis-

played in early forest policy have not changed

significantly in the RFA process leading to some

of the failures.

The general objective of this paper is to under-

take an assessment of the relationship between

public choice principles and the RFA reforms in

Australia, and to evaluate whether the reforms had

the consequences which public choice theory would

predict. This paper attempts to examine this hypoth-

esis to derive implications for achieving sustainable

forest policy.

The specific objectives of this paper are to:

a Briefly review the RFA process and Public Choice


b Evaluate the Regional Forest Agreement from a

Public Choice Theory perspective; and

c Derive implications for future forest policy in


The paper is organised as follows: the next section

will discuss the salient features of the RFA process.

Section 3 then presents the basic elements of Public

Choice Theory. In Section 4 the paper analyses whether

the RFA process has been consistent with public choice

theory prescriptions. The last section draws conclu-

sions on whether public choice theory is a useful

framework for the design of forest policy in Australia.

2. The regional forest agreement process (RFAS)

In December 1992, the Prime Minister and all State

Premiers (excluding Tasmania)
and both Territory

Chief Ministers signed the NFPS which had eleven

major goals ranging from conservation through to

sustainable wood production. These include

. Management of privately owned native forests;

. Establishment of hardwood and softwood planta-

. Water supply and catchment management;
. Tourism and timber related training and employment.

The NFPS was committed to a comprehensive,

adequate and representative (CAR) reserve system

and the implementation of strategies to protect old-

growth forests and wilderness as part of the reserve

system. The three broad reservation criteria for bio-

diversity, old growth forests and wilderness are:

. A benchmark of 15% of the pre-1750s distribution

of each forest community be protected within

conservation reserves;

Table 1

RFA regions and date signed

RFA region Date signed


(1) South East RFA not signed

New South Wales

(2) North East (Upper and Lower) 31 March 2000

(3) Southern 24 April 2001

(4) Eden 26 August 1999


(5) East Gippsland 3 February 1997

(6) Gippsland 31 March 2000

(7) North East 23 August 1999

(8) Central Highlands 27 March 1998

(9) West 31 March 2000


(10) Tasmania 8 November 1997

Western Australia

(11) South West 4 May 1999

Source: Ananda, 2003.

G. Musselwhite, G. Herath / Forest Policy and Economics 7 (2005) 579–588582

. The retention in reserves of at least 60% of existing

old growth, increasing up to 100% for rare forest

community old growth; and
. The protection of 90% or more, where ever

practicable, of high quality wilderness (JANIS,


The day following the NFPS, New South Wales,

Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia declared six

million hectares of forests as ‘deferred forest areas’

(DFAs) to provide interim protection of forest areas

until an RFA could be put in place. The DFAs as

agreed to with each State were of a fixed term and

overridden when an RFA was entered into between the

State and Commonwealth for that region.

The most important step in this new vision is the

negotiation between the Commonwealth and States

over the long-term management of forests called

Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs). The RFAs are

20-year agreements, with 5 yearly reviews and are

intended to give certainty to industries and regional

communities, enabling the development of interna-

tionally competitive and ecologically sustainable

industries. In addition, the RFA was to provide eco-

logically sustainable management to the whole forest

estate, both on and off reserves (Environment Aus-

tralia, 1999). Already, ten RFAs have been signed as

shown in Table 1.

An essential part of the RFAs is that the Common-

wealths control over the export of hardwood is

removed for that region.
The Export Control regula-

tions (hardwood wood chips) state that wood chips

from native hardwood forests are permitted to be

exported only if they are derived from a region to

which a RFA applies. In 1997, amendments were made

to the Export Control (Regional Forest Agreements)

Regulations. The effect of the amendments being to

permit the export of hardwood wood chips from an

RFA region, without any form of Commonwealth

approval or control. The concept of sustainability

Section 25 of the Export Control Act 1982 relating to

Hardwood Wood Chips and unprocessed wood regulations of 1986.
The concept of sustainability of open to broad variation in

definition ranging from very weak sustainability to that of very

strong sustainability. Inclusive are the terms weak sustainability and

strong sustainability with each term having specific definitions as to

sustainable practices (Turner, 1993).

commercial forest use is a significant change in direc-

tion for traditional forest management.

The States were to undertake scientific analysis

of both Public and Private Native forests, ensuring

that 15% of pre-white settlement forest cover was

set aside under a comprehensive reserve system,

with unique, or endangered ecosystems also pro-

tected. Described as mega-diverse in terms of bio-

logical diversity, it is likely that most forest diversity

remains unknown (Mobbs, 2001).

3. Public choice theory

Public choice theory (PCT) is the application of

economics to political decision making (Mueller,

1989). PCT assumes that bureaucrats are motivated

primarily by self-interest rather than the public

interest. PCT explains decision making by voters,

bureaucrats and politicians. According to PCT, gov-

ernment decision making is subject to pressure from

‘interest groups’, lobbying, and voting behaviour,

and self-interest, expressed in the ‘political market’

(Johnson, 1994).

G. Musselwhite, G. Herath / Forest Policy and Economics 7 (2005) 579–588 583

3.1. Interest groups

The 1950s and the 1960s witnessed the emergence

of a number of interest groups. Some of them being

highly institutionalized with a highly organized lead-

ership structure, long-term stable membership, and an

extensive knowledge of the working of the govern-

ment (Hutton and Connors, 1999). Single platform or

local groups also form around one or two issues.

These groups are not generally well organized and

the membership dissolves after the objective has been

achieved. Early estimates of the direct membership in

all environmental groups ranged from 150 000 to

300 000 persons, a high figure for a population of

less than 19 million (Davis, 1991). The success of

interest groups, depends on their organization, access

to information, knowledge of political machinery, and

the degree of consolidation to address the particular

issue. The groups generally articulate their concerns in

two ways. They either use individually motivated

channels of political involvement such as voting, or

alternatively support collective activities in the form

of an organized interest group. The interest groups in

this way can influence public policy to promote their

own interests. Interest groups can spend large amounts

of money and time in lobbying the politicians to

obtain special favours. Known as rent seeking, this

is a highly inefficient practice as it misallocates

resources in favour of one interest group over another,

without justification. Environmental interest groups

have become a major factor in the decision making

process for the establishment of wilderness areas in

Australia and Canada (Sewell et al., 1989). The

preservation of the Franklin area acted as major

catalyst and focus for the environmental lobby to

become politically active in Australia. The rise of

the environmental movement in the 1960s, resulted in

widespread attention being given to matters such as

conservation, resource allocation and environmental

preservation. Environmental decisions, which are

political in nature are the results of bargaining

amongst interest groups who know what they want

and how to get it.

3.2. Role of bureaucracy

According to public choice theory, relationships

develop between state bureaucratic agencies such as

the forest industry, conservation agencies, and other

interest groups. The forest industry had strong links

with State forest departments for industrial develop-

ment. Since forest industries generate development

and economic benefit, the financial management

agencies at state and federal levels form part of their

supportive institutional environment. Similarly, the

conservation agencies support special interest groups

on forest conservation and species protection. The

financial resources are provided not by customers but

by a political sponsor who allocates funds to public

agencies. Therefore to the extent that bureaucrats are

responsive to external pressures, they are more likely

to pay attention to the desires of politicians than the

need of the public. The Government response is to

develop policies that maximize their political oppor-

tunities. To this end, government’s will support groups

that are influential in getting votes. Rent seeking

activities also lead to the redistribution of income.

Those on the receiving end of such redistribution are

then likely to spend resources in order to maintain the

status quo. Thus there can be significant welfare loss

due to rent seeking activities.

3.3. Political efficiency

A political market is where the politicians, bureau-

crats and interest groups can negotiate on a preferred

position using the least-cost ways of reaching the

decision (Johnson, 1994). This is a mechanism used

by rational economic agents, including individuals

and their associates (Pasour, 1993). The decisions

reached are considered politically efficient in the

sense that no better alternative is available.

4. Performance of the RFAs

This section examines the performance of the

RFAs from a PCT perspective. It looks at several

relevant issues namely economic and political issues,

conflict resolution, scientific credibility, stakeholder

participation and aboriginal issues.

4.1. Economic issues

The major economic components of the forest

sector in Australia are (a) wood supply potential (b)

G. Musselwhite, G. Herath / Forest Policy and Economics 7 (2005) 579–588584

sustainable sawlog yields, and (c) direct and indirect

employment. In addition, forests create jobs and

wealth through other activities such as tourism, fire-

wood, specialty timber, grazing of livestock, and

apiculture, which are dependent on intact and healthy

forests. These secondary forest activities yield approx-

imately $800 million in Victoria (Slee, 2001). Tourism

Victoria have estimated that an annual injection of

$250 million in the mid-1990s was made through

forest-related tourism compared to an estimate of the

annual gross value of farm and forest products of

nearly $800 million in North East Victoria for the

same period (Slee, 2001). The PCT perspective sug-

gests that the creation of market forces in the forestry

sector will lead to improvements in efficiency and

effectiveness. A prerequisite for such changes is the

valuation of all outputs at market prices.

However, in implementing the RFAs, some impor-

tant values have not been estimated. For example,

where the interest group is not politically significant

such as the apiarists, their economic values were

ignored. Similarly, no attempt was made to estimate

the non-market values associated with native forests

such as water gathering in forested catchments. The

opportunities for further development of niche mar-

kets in forest-based ecotourism remain unexplored.

There is an underestimation of the secondary benefits

emanating from timber values or conservation activ-

ities. The limited evidence available shows that the

conservation values could be significant. The value of

remnant native vegetation (RNV) on private property

shows that the aggregate benefits of RNV in Northeast

Victoria was $60.7 million. Estimates based on a 5

year time horizon and 7% discount rate in Northeast

Victoria show that the government can spend up to

$29.8 million and still achieve a net economic benefits

provided conservation outcomes are achieved (Lock-

wood and Walpole, 2000). However, such estimates of

economic values were not widely used in the RFA

process. This may result in under allocation of resour-

ces for conservation, which can affect sustainability of

forest resources (Slee, 2001). Existing Common-

wealth and State legislation does not include the

modern concept of sustainable forest management,

which results in the failure to protect the full range

of forest values (Bartlett, 1999). Important trade-offs

between conservation values and timber values have

often been intuitive and never formal.

The decisions made regarding conservation of

areas based upon mainly non-market approaches

imply that market efficiency has not been seriously

pursued. Another problem is the failure to recognise

the regional economic multiplier effects associated

with economic allocation decisions.

Also, important issue is that some of the major

costs associated with the RFAs have not been esti-

mated. Costs due to dramatic decline in water yield

when mature forest is replaced by water hungry re-

growth forest and reduced volumes of water in the

catchments were not estimated. The water consumers

indirectly subsidise the export timber industry (Kirk-

patrick, 1998a). Water consumers are highly diffused

and not highly visible, at least in forest controversies,

and their interests may not enter the political agenda.

The RFAs can cause distributional problems. Ces-

sation of logging and shift from labour intensive saw

milling to wood chipping can lead to loss of regular

income for workers. There is no serious examination

of how economic benefits are distributed across soci-

ety, and how they changed in relative importance with

the implementation of the RFAs. Kirkpatrick (1998a)

states that ‘it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the

only major beneficiaries from the RFA process will be

large national and international companies, given the

adherence to the ideology of globalisation by our


4.2. Political issues

Broadly, forest conflicts have centred on demands

for governments to alter or cease timber-logging and

declare national parks to conserve long-term native

biodiversity, wilderness and heritage values (Kirkpa-

trick, 1998b). Conservationists argue that the timber

industry was being granted unfair access to scarce

resources. According to Doyle (1998), governments

often sought to institutionalise conflict over given

issues, so as to reduce the degree of overt conflict

surrounding them, thereby lessening their potential for

political disruption.

The challenge for most governments is one of

adapting to new demands and ensure that changes

benefited native forests and society in general, rather

than special interests. Hence it is politically expedient

for the Commonwealth Government to be out of the

limelight in relation to forest management and export

Cheryl Edwards MLA, Minister for Environment, Western


G. Musselwhite, G. Herath / Forest Policy and Economics 7 (2005) 579–588 585

hardwood woodchip controls. The RFAs have surren-

dered much of the powers to the states (Lane, 1999).

In this way, the processes of institutionalisation can

result in issues being taken off the mainstream polit-

ical agenda. The strategy also removed a judicial

avenue for conservation groups to challenge the

validity of logging operations.

Several key changes made to the RFAs also

support conservationists concerns. The proviso that

existing harvesting targets can be varied for socio-

economic reasons and (b) that a substantial propor-

tion of privately owned may not come under the

RFA are examples. In short, the strategic direction of

the RFAs has been altered from conservation first to

that of socio-economic development. According to

Caldwell (1993), this means that rent seeking and

interest group pressure have not ended because of

the RFA process. Political bias is influenced by

pressure from the constituents, and politicians trying

to maximise the basis of their political security

(Caldwell, 1993). This is evident with governments

and bureaucrats often displaying bias towards log-

ging. The cooptation of government agencies by the

interests of the consumptive forestry user groups

reflecting this bias and hence the RFAs are no longer

consistent with the original conservation mandate

(Kirkpatrick, 1998b).

4.3. Conflict resolution

The inter-governmental conflicts have not been

minimised by the RFA process. One of the major

conflicts has been the disagreement between the

Commonwealth and the Queensland Government

over the implementation of the JANIS reservation

criteria. The Queensland Government openly defied

the Commonwealth by passing legislation that guar-

anteed wood supply for 25 years to Queensland

Forest Industries (Palaszczuk, 1999). This is an act

of political defiance, because the RFAs are for 20

year terms with five yearly reviews, and is meant to

pander to Queensland forest interests. The Com-

monwealth has refused to sign the RFA and is

withholding funding to assist with Queensland for-

est industry restructuring programs. Similarly dis-

agreements over budgets, time-lines and boundaries

of the northern NSW region deteriorated with loom-

ing federal and state elections (Mobbs, 2001).

NSW still clears approximately 50 000 ha of native

forest per year. Between 1995 and 1997, approxi-

mately 94 000 ha/year of vegetation communities

were cleared in Queensland. Legislation to control

clearing in Queensland has provided only modest

improvements in land clearing. The conflict between

the logging industry and other stakeholders is at the

centre of conflicts surrounding the RFA in Western

Australia, New south Wales, Victoria and Tasmania

and that timber harvesting practices have been unsus-

tainable (Mobbs, 2001).

The RFAs in East Gippsland, Tasmania and south

western forests in Western Australia have not been

accepted by conservation groups. The Western Aus-

tralian RFA attracted unprecedented community pro-

tests due to continued logging of old growth karri

and tingle forests. The Resources Minister stated that

the public had lost confidence in the RFA process

(Black and Phillips, 1999). Ultimately the WA Gov-

ernment changed its policy which resulted in the

cessation of nearly all old growth logging (Edwards,


Once an RFA agreement is in place, the Com-

monwealth removes Export Controls from hardwood

woodchips in that RFA region (Tribe 1998). Darga-

vel (1998b) suggests that this is because the Com-

monwealth is able to remove itself from costly and

politically damaging environmental disputes involv-

ing the States achieving a key political objective of

the RFA process. Dargavel et al. (2000) point out

that although the process has resulted in a resolution

of conflicts between State and Commonwealth,

whether they remain governable in the longer term

is subject to the continual dynamics of politics.

4.4. Scientific credibility

Horwitz and Calver (1998) state that the RFA

did not facilitate scientific debate, or peer review.

Independent scientists were not committee members

in their own right (Mobbs, 2001). As the original

scientific criteria for biodiversity conservation were

watered down (Kirkpatrick, 1998a). The scientific

assessments were weak. The definition of ‘ecolog-

G. Musselwhite, G. Herath / Forest Policy and Economics 7 (2005) 579–588586

ical’ wilderness differs significantly from that of

‘physical’ wilderness which was applied to the

RFAs. There is significant uncertainty, limitations

and major gaps in knowledge and assessments and

high probability of irreversible environmental

impacts. In most states, the processes have been

more dubious and under their cloaks of secrecy,

politics have often run riot (Pugh, 1998). Lack of

transparency of the methodologies used in calculat-

ing sustainable harvest volumes led to unsustainable

timber harvesting practices. The Department of

Natural Resources and Environment in Victoria

admitted it had got its figure very wrong in the

Wombat State Forest. The problem of over-logging

in Victoria may require as much as a 20% reduction

in harvest volumes to achieve sustainable levels.

In practice, no RFA to date has applied the

criteria of adequacy and representativeness in a

substantial manner. Dargavel et al. (2000) suggest

that the various trade-offs between the requirements

of conservation and those of industry during the

RFA agreement processes, have weakened their

adequacy. Given the weakening of reservation cri-

teria, on socioeconomic grounds and due to lack of

scientific rigour, questions exist as to the long-term

validity of scientific assessments and decisions that

have been made (Tribe, 1998). Whilst the RFAs

were meant to improve forest practices outside of

reserves, there has been instead an intensification of

timber harvesting in those areas and a failure to use

plantation timber as a replacement for native forest.

4.5. Stakeholder participation

Although stakeholders were consulted early in the

RFA process, the final agreements are only between

the Commonwealth and the State. According to

Dargavel (1998b) inherent difficulties exist in the

RFA process in incorporating public participation in

RFAs because it is essentially a Commonwealth–

State political process with its own time table and

intents which may not match with stakeholders

characteristics. Stakeholder participation processes

can be accessed and influenced by organised inter-

ests. Often advisory groups were established with a

predominance of vested interest groups, appointed

under the guise of some other interest group or plan

to rid some groups from involvement (Pugh, 1998).

According to Mobbs (2001), non-government groups

were removed because they pursued issues that are

not the core issues for other interest groups.

Non-government representatives felt betrayed by

the NSW government’s limitation on opportunities

for broad public consultation (Mobbs, 2001). Bick-

ering between the State and the Commonwealth in

negotiations over Eden (NSW) and a perception by

the timber industry that they would be better off if

conservationists were unable to keep an eye on

proceedings led to interest groups being excluded

from the Steering Committee (Pugh, 1998). A sig-

nificant challenge for governments is to ensure

broad, balanced participation by the public.

4.6. Indigenous issues

The land rights of aboriginal people have been

watered down, with indigenous issues being

restricted to indigenous cultural heritage in the

RFA process. A combination of mistrust of govern-

ments; tight timeframes and traditional knowledge of

sacred places held in confidence by aboriginal peo-

ple have prevented adequate time for consultation

(Dargavel, 1998b; Dargavel et al., 2000). The impli-

cations of the Native Title Act 1933 was largely

ignored in the RFA process.

According to Dargavel (1998b) the RFA program

failed to take advantage of what could have been a

considerable opportunity to deal with the varied list

of indigenous issues in a joint, comprehensive and

integrated manner. Native title pits the indigenous

people against other powerful lobby groups such as

farmers and the timber industry. The lesser impor-

tance attached to native title reflects the weak

political position of the indigenous people in forest

controversies. Docker (1998) states that the compre-

hensive, adequate and representative conservation

process was not designed to address Aboriginal

rights in forested lands properly. Such issues were

glossed over in the RFA process.

5. Concluding remarks

The RFAs were an attempt by the Commonwealth

Government to control the bitter forest disputes wit-

nessed since the mid-1970s. The RFA process

G. Musselwhite, G. Herath / Forest Policy and Economics 7 (2005) 579–588 587

intended to establish a framework by which both

environmentalists and forest industries would be sat-

isfied with the protection afforded by a broad set of

reservation criteria and industry targets. However, the

implementation of the RFAs was still influenced by

interest groups and bureaucratic predilections. The

levels of reservation, under the CAR system were

lowered on the guise of socio-economic development.

This indicates that there is interest group pressure and

rent seeking activities within the RFAs. There is

concern over the scientific processes, the recognition

of indigenous values and the socio-economic analysis

used in the RFA process. The consultation process

undertaken was little more than information dissem-

ination, with the final agreement made between Com-

monwealth and state governments. The

intergovernmental conflicts have not been eliminated

by the RFA process. Queensland has defied the RFA

signing agreements in contravention of the stipulated

criteria. Conflicts with the community have not been

mitigated as shown by the continuing disputes in

Western Australia, Victoria and NSW.

The problems experienced indicate the difficulties

in converting good policy into reality in the face of

competing issues, changing political agendas and

conflicting interests. To accept that the RFA process

is flawed and incomplete, however, is not to suggest

that the process is pointless. Partial though they may

be, they can still help to instil principles of manage-

ment and to establish the broadest of guidelines for

the use of the forest resource. Conclusions on the

relevance of Public Choice Theory principles to forest

management must be based on the relative importance

of the performance criteria of efficiency, responsive-

ness and equity. If the reading of the evidence is

correct, it implies that we still have a long way to go

in achieving these criteria in the forest sector. In the

final analysis, however, good policies can be but one

of the preconditions for balanced, efficient and equi-

tous forest management in Australia.


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December Western Australia, Perth.

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4, 141–157.

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ments. CRES, Australian National University, Canberra.

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wood supply commitment passed by parliament, Queensland


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what can economists do? New Zealand Economic Papers 27,


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  • Australia’s regional forest agreement process: analysis of the potential and problems
    • Introduction
    • The regional forest agreement process (RFAS)
    • Public choice theory
      • Interest groups
      • Role of bureaucracy
      • Political efficiency
    • Performance of the RFAs
      • Economic issues
      • Political issues
      • Conflict resolution
      • Scientific credibility
      • Stakeholder participation
      • Indigenous issues
    • Concluding remarks
    • References

Wk 7 Discussion (Due in 1 day) Urgent/The Role of Science in Environmental.pdf

The Role of Science in Environmental GovernanceLars H. Gulbrandsen

The Role of Science in Environmental
Governance: Competing Knowledge
Producers in Swedish and
Norwegian Forestry

Lars H. Gulbrandsen*

Scientiªc knowledge plays a role in the management of diffuse, transboundary
and complex environmental problems. In recent years, knowledge of the effects
of forestry on biodiversity and ecosystem services such as wildlife habitats, ºood
mitigation, and climate stabilization has featured prominently in discussions
about environmental protection in forestry. Deforestation and loss of biodi-
versity in tropical forests have been the main concerns internationally, but there
is growing recognition that loss of biodiversity and environmental degradation
constitute serious threats to all types of forest.

This study examines the inºuence of scientiªc knowledge in rule-making
processes aimed at enhancing environmental protection in Swedish and Norwe-
gian forestry. Since Sweden and Norway have large forested areas and major for-
est industries, environmental protection measures are likely to affect a number
of forest owners and forest companies. In recent years, both countries have
adopted new policies and instruments to enhance environmental protection in
forestry. However, while Sweden is in the process of protecting ªve percent of its
forestland and has created a number of small reserves, Norway has thus far pro-
tected only one percent and is lagging behind in the set-aside of small reserves.
Moreover, voluntary forest certiªcation standards generally appear more strin-
gent and demanding in Sweden than in Norway. These differences are surpris-


* I am grateful to William C. Clark, Olav Schram Stokke, and Arild Underdal for their time, inter-
est and helpful comments on earlier drafts. Thanks also to Steinar Andresen, Benjamin Cashore,
Ashwini Chhatre, Ken Cousins, Kristin Rosendal, three anonymous reviewers, and the editors of
GEP for their helpful comments and to Ronald Mitchell for his helpful editing of my text. Ear-
lier versions were presented at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale
University in February 2007, the Sustainability Science Seminar at Harvard University in March
2007, and the International Studies Association’s Annual Convention in Chicago, March 2007.
The work was funded by the Research Council of Norway (grant #164442) and supported by
the Fridtjof Nansen Institute and the Sustainability Science Program at Harvard’s Center for In-
ternational Development.

Global Environmental Politics 8:2, May 2008
© 2008 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

ing, given that the two countries are quite similar in terms of forest ecology, de-
pendence on paper products exports, administrative traditions, and relationship
between business, NGOs, and the state. This study explores whether the differ-
ences in performance of Sweden and Norway can be explained by variation in
the state of knowledge about environmental protection needs; the access of dif-
ferent stakeholders to the science-policy dialogue; and the distribution of costs
and beneªts in the forestry sector.

The article is organized as follows. Section two sets out the analytical ap-
proach. Section three describes the ªndings on knowledge and environmental
protection policies in Norway and Sweden. Section four discusses the cases in
light of the analytical approach. Section ªve discusses the lessons of the study
and implications for future research.

Exploring the Science-Policy Interface

In exploring the science-policy interface, this article draws on what we may
call a rational-instrumental approach, a political-institutional approach and
a political economy approach to studying science and politics. The rational-
instrumental approach sees science as providing veriªable facts about reality on
which rational policy decisions can be based. Science is viewed as a source of
facts and theories about environmental problems that can and should settle
disputes, guide policy-makers, and inºuence political action.1 The rational-
instrumental approach assumes that policy-makers generally recognize scien-
tiªc research as a major supplier of credible and salient knowledge; that they
rarely explicitly dispute what the scientiªc community considers to be consen-
sual and certain knowledge; and that they are more likely to take some kind of
action to address (urgent) environmental problems in a climate of scientiªc
consensus and certainty than of controversy and uncertainty.2 We would expect,
then, that the level of scientiªc consensus and certainty is related to the inºuence
of knowledge on policies.3 In particular, rationalists would expect that the
greater the level of scientiªc consensus and certainty, the greater the inºuence
that knowledge is likely to have in the rule-making process. Divergence in the
stringency of environmental protection measures could then be explained by
variation in the state of knowledge about the problem at hand.

To investigate this proposition, we attempt to establish the level of sci-
entiªc consensus and certainty in assessments of environmental protection
needs in forestry. We would expect a high level of scientiªc consensus and cer-
tainty to facilitate the integration of environmental protection measures into
forest policy. Conversely, the absence of consensus and certainty would likely
impede the integration of such measures. It should be noted, however, that a

100 • The Role of Science in Environmental Governance

1. Sarewitz 2004.
2. Andresen et al. 2000.
3. Underdal 2000.

high level of consensus combined with low certainty could also result in envi-
ronmental protection measures. This is precisely what the precautionary ap-
proach prescribes: when there is consensus that we do not know the environ-
mental risk associated with a particular problem, we should take precautionary
action to minimize the risk.

The political-institutional approach to the science-policy interface challenges
the assumption that “science speaks truth to power” and the idea that scientiªc
objectivity is divorced from the political aims and values of interest groups and
governments. Elaborated in the “social studies of science” literature, scholars
criticize the rational-instrumental approach for separating knowledge and sci-
ence from the world of politics.4 In the idiom of coproduction of science and so-
cial order, there is a “constant intertwining of the cognitive, the material, the so-
cial and the normative.”5 Jasanoff explains coproduction as “shorthand for the
proposition that the ways in which we know and represent the world (both na-
ture and society) are inseparable from the ways in which we choose to live in
it.”6 Scientiªc knowledge is not independent of political context but is produced
by scientists who are embedded in particular natural and social orders. Political-
institutional work on the negotiated boundary between science and policy fo-
cuses on the interactions between scientiªc inquiry and political processes, and
the ways in which the production, framing and use of knowledge shape policy
outcomes. Since the resolution of environmental problems not only requires
scientiªc autonomy but also interaction between knowledge producers and
policy-makers, this work analyzes the role of political actors, interest groups,
and institutions at the science-policy interface.7

In this study, we are particularly interested in knowledge producers with
privileged access to the science-policy dialogue and the nature of the scientiªc
information they produce or consider relevant. The policy style or particular
way of policy-making and implementation in Norway and Sweden is often re-
ferred to as “the Nordic model,” characterized by close interaction between the
regulators and the regulated, extensive participation of major interest organiza-
tions, and the dominance of consensual, give-and-take decision-making.8 With
the accent on state-centered corporatist solutions, the state deªnes what counts
as valid knowledge and knowledge production, and tends to absorb ideas and
initiatives that emerge outside the established system of science-policy interac-
tions. In a system favoring close interaction between regulators and the regu-
lated, strong interest groups will also have a stake in knowledge production and
policy development. However, with the emergence of new policy instruments at
the science-policy interface—forest certiªcation schemes being an example—

Lars H. Gulbrandsen • 101

4. See, for example, Jasanoff 1987, 1990, 2004; and Jasanoff and Martello 2004.
5. Jasanoff 2004, 6.
6. Jasanoff 2004, 6.
7. See, for example, Litªn 1994; Andresen et al. 2000; Social Learning Group 2001a and 2001b;

Cash, Clark et al. 2003; Dimitrov 2006; and Mitchell et al. 2006.
8. See, for example, Olsen, Roness, and Sætren 1982; Richardson 1982; and Micheletti 1995.

other knowledge producers and stakeholders will be encouraged to take part in
the science-policy dialogue. As such policy instruments proliferate, the tradi-
tional research sector will face increasing competition from other producers and
users of knowledge that can inºuence environmental rule-making.

The political-institutional approach leads us to expect that divergence in
the stringency of environmental protection measures can be explained by varia-
tion in the access of various knowledge producers and users to the science-
policy dialogue. Speciªcally, we would expect more stringent environmental
regulations in the country in which environmental stakeholders had wider ac-
cess to the science-policy dialogue. We therefore have to examine the access to
the science-policy dialogue of a broad range of stakeholders such as various re-
search communities, environmental NGOs, and forest industry associations.

The political economy approach to the science-policy interface focuses on
the extent to which the inºuence of knowledge depends on how environmental
problems and solutions are related to the distribution of costs and beneªts
within speciªc sectors and society at large. Private goods are only available to
those able and willing to share what it costs to obtain them, or to whom provid-
ers decide to give access to the goods. By contrast, public goods are beneªts that
cannot be denied to anyone once the goods are provided; they are nonexclusive
and available for all to consume.9 Differences in private and public beneªts may
result in failure to provide ecosystem services such as biodiversity conservation
and wildlife habitats; resource managers will tend to provide too little of ecosys-
tem services when the beneªts primarily go to the public.10 This perspective
leads us to expect that those policy measures most easily implemented are those
that provide beneªts to a speciªc sector or group while they distribute costs
throughout society. Conversely, policy measures that have diffuse beneªts but
concentrated costs, will prove more difªcult to implement.11 We would expect,
therefore, that consensual knowledge is less likely to inºuence policy when
costs are concentrated within certain sectors or segments (and beneªts are dis-
tributed) than when costs are widely distributed (and beneªts are concen-
trated). In short, contrary to the rational-instrumental approach, the political
economy approach would lead us to expect that science will inºuence policy-
making when economic stakes are low; when stakes are high, science will have
little or no inºuence.12

The political economy approach leads us to expect that divergence in the
stringency of environmental protection measures in forestry is explained by
variation in the distribution of costs and beneªts in the Swedish and Norwegian
forestry sectors. As many environmental protection measures in forestry are
likely to be costly for landowners while the beneªts are likely to be widely dis-
tributed throughout society, forest owners and their associations could be

102 • The Role of Science in Environmental Governance

9. Olson 1965.
10. See, for example, Perrings and Gadgil 2003, 535.
11. Underdal 1998, 14–15; and Underdal 2000; see also Wilson 1973.
12. See also Collingridge and Reeve 1986.

expected to mobilize to prevent the enactment of such measures. The misalign-
ment of the public’s and resource managers’ interests would impede environ-
mental protection efforts. On the other hand, forest companies could beneªt
from implementing environmental protection measures, especially if exposed
to substantial societal mobilization or strong market demands to protect the en-
vironment. In particular, large forest companies involved in timber extraction,
processing and sales may be more likely than small forest owners to acquiesce
to advocacy group pressure to adopt environmental standards, owing to their
public and market exposure.13 Moreover, large forest companies may ªnd it eas-
ier than small forest owners to comply with some environmental policies, such
as set-aside requirements, owing to economies of scale. We therefore have to
consider ownership patterns and forest industry structure in Sweden and Nor-
way when analyzing the distribution of beneªts and costs related to environ-
mental protection measures.

To summarize, based on each of the three approaches to studying the sci-
ence-policy interface, we propose that the differences in the environmental
stringency of forest policy in Norway and Sweden can be explained by variation
in: 1) the state of knowledge about environmental protection needs; 2) the ac-
cess of various stakeholders to the science-policy dialogue; and 3) the relation-
ship of the environmental problem and its solutions to the distribution of costs
and beneªts in the forestry sector. These are largely alternative rather than com-
plementary propositions, but they can be combined to explain outcomes of dif-
ferent rule-making process. For example, in state-driven processes, variation in
the state of knowledge or in the access to the science-policy dialogue may ex-
plain the different performance of Norway and Sweden, whereas in forest
certiªcation processes, variation in the distribution of costs and beneªts in the
forestry sector may have greater explanatory power. Of course, other explana-
tions are possible, not related to the science-policy interface, but our interest in
this study is primarily in exploring the inºuence of knowledge in rule-making
processes. The comparative case-study design allows for an in-depth study of the
science-policy interface and a systematic examination of similarities and differ-
ences between the cases.14 This research design is used in combination with
process-tracing within each case, identifying causal chains of events and path
dependencies that resulted in particular outcomes.15 The data in the study con-
sists of primary documents such as scientiªc reports, environmental assess-
ments and public policy documents; 22 interviews with researchers, policy-
makers, environmentalists and forest owners; and secondary sources.16

Lars H. Gulbrandsen • 103

13. Cashore, Auld, and Newsom 2004.
14. Collier 1993.
15. George and Bennett 2005.
16. 12 interviews in Norway were carried out in 2001, 2003 and 2005 while 10 interviews in Swe-

den were carried out in 2005. All interviewees have been granted anonymity.

Scientiªc Knowledge and Environmental Protection in Forestry

Three strategies are used in Sweden and Norway to enhance environmental pro-
tection in forestry: 1) mapping and protecting small reserves; 2) establishing a
network of large reserves; and 3) establishing forest certiªcation standards in all
commercial forestry.17 In what follows, we compare and contrast the develop-
ment of these strategies in the two countries.

Mapping and Protecting Small Reserves

Methods for mapping habitats of great value for threatened species have impor-
tant policy implications for environmental protection measures in forestry.
Here, the concept of “key biotopes” and the implications of adopting the so-
called “key-biotope method” to environmental protection in forestry are of
particular interest. In the early 1990s the Swedish Forest Agency developed a
method for identifying and registering what they called key biotopes in for-
ests.18 A comprehensive research project, including a number of ªeld studies,
was carried out and a number of reports published before and during the ªrst
phase of the Swedish inventory of key biotopes, from 1993 to 1998.19 The con-
cept and method explicitly linked biological hotspots to the identiªcation of
habitats with red-listed (threatened and vulnerable) species. Since many red-
listed species are hard to ªnd and identify, the Forest Agency compiled a list of
350 “indicator species” through interviews with species experts. The use of indi-
cator species to identify “species richness” is based on the assumption that there
is a strong clustering of species in certain forest areas. Whereas the common spe-
cies are expected to be found everywhere, rare species are expected to occur only
in the richest sites. One implication is that if species within certain well-deªned
ecological communities is strongly clustered, then biologists could identify in-
dicator species in order to map biological hotspots with great biodiversity.20 The
use of such indicator species is appealing because it is easier to identify a few in-
dicator species than to map all species within a certain ecological community.21

The Swedish Forest Agency tasked ecologists with identifying key biotopes
on all private forestland (i.e. land controlled by small, non-industrial owners),
while ecologists employed by forest companies and other large owners mapped
key biotopes on their land. Between 1993 and 1998, the authorities conducted
the ªrst phase of a large-scale inventory of key habitats on all small private
forestland in Sweden, totaling almost 12 million hectares of forestland. The
completion of the inventory was planned in a second phase between 2001 and
2003, but it is still not completed (2007). Thus far, the Swedish Forest Agency

104 • The Role of Science in Environmental Governance

17. Liljelund, Pettersson, and Zackrisson 1992; and Eckerberg 2000, 239.
18. Swedish Forest Agency 1991.
19. Swedish Forest Agency 1999.
20. See, for example, Honnay, Hermy, and Coppin 1999; and Jonsson and Jonsell 1999.
21. Jonsson and Jonsell 1999; Gustafsson 2000; and Sætersdal, Gjerde, and Blom 2005.

has mapped 56,000 key biotopes on land belonging to private, small forest
owners.22 While progress in protecting these habitats has been slow as a result of
the cost of buying forestland and budgetary constraints, the Swedish govern-
ment has adopted quite ambitious habitat conservation objectives and pro-
vided funding for land purchases and compensation to landowners for the cre-
ation of small reserves of up to ªve hectares each.23

In Norway, the NGO Last Chance quickly adopted the key biotopes con-
cept and published the book Key Biotopes and Diversity of Species in Forests (in
Norwegian) intended as a reference for identifying small reserves.24 Inspired by
One Step Ahead in Sweden, a group of environmentalists dedicated to protect-
ing forests, Last Chance was founded in 1992 by a group of biologists and biol-
ogy students as a subgroup of Friends of the Earth in Norway. Similar to the
Swedish inventory, the method they developed was based on the identiªcation
of certain indicator species in the ªeld, in particular those on the Norwegian
Red List of threatened and vulnerable species, as a tool to map woodland key

While the Swedish government tasked the Forest Agency with deªning the
concept of key biotopes and developing a method for ªeld mapping of forest
biodiversity, the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture in 1996 responded to the
method developed by Last Chance by setting up a large-scale research project
named “Environmental Inventories in Forests” to develop a “scientiªcally docu-
mented method” for woodland habitat mapping.25 The Ministry of Agriculture
questioned the scientiªc validity and usefulness of the Norwegian Red List and
claimed that it was necessary to develop an alternative to Last Chance’s method-
ology for environmental inventories of forests. The Norwegian Forest Research
Institute, a state-owned but autonomous research institute under the Ministry
of Agriculture, was tasked with developing the method. In total, the research in-
stitute received 50 million NOK (about 8 million USD) for the work.

The research group concluded that indicator species of species richness—
such as those used by Last Chance and by the Swedish Forest Agency—should
not be used as indicators of biological hotspots because they did not ªnd evi-
dence that mapping indicator species was useful for identifying species richness
in particular sites. According to the researchers, the selection of indicator species
often seemed to be based on the intuition of species experts and anecdotal in-
formation rather than empirical testing. They concluded that in practical site se-
lection of small reserves, indicators related to amount and quality of habitats—
such as dead wood, old trees, deciduous trees and cliffs—should be used in
combination with identiªcation of vascular plants instead of lists of indicator
species of species richness. Their results were later published in a report26 and

Lars H. Gulbrandsen • 105

22. Swedish Forest Agency 2006, 109.
23. Swedish Environmental Objectives Council 2006, 61.
24. Haugseth, Alfredsen, and Lie 1996.
25. Norwegian Ministry of the Environment 2000–2001, 118.
26. Gjerde and Baumann 2002.

several journal articles,27 but at the time, no results from the project had been

After being presented with the project results in 2000, the Norwegian Min-
istry of Agriculture concluded that the new method developed by the research-
ers, unlike earlier inventories, was based on the best available knowledge and
advised against letting the old method based on inventories of key biotopes in-
form forestry practices. By proposing a grant to stimulate voluntary environ-
mental incentives in forests, the Ministry could be said to monopolize the
method. Eligibility for the grant requires forest owners to use the habitat map-
ping method developed by the Norwegian Forest Research Institute or “similar
scientiªcally documented methods.”28 In practice, alternative methods, includ-
ing that developed by Last Chance, have been dismissed as not meeting this lat-
ter criteria.29 According to the new method, deemed by the Ministry as
scientiªcally documented, responsibility for environmental inventories lies
with forestry planners, usually employed in forest owners’ associations, or com-
panies owned by these associations. Forestry technicians would now be doing
work previously done by biologists.30 The Norwegian Ministry of the Environ-
ment objected to this policy and claimed that other methods for mapping
smaller forest conservation areas also should qualify for receiving grants,31 but
their objections were ignored.

In 2003, environmental organizations in Norway responded to the Minis-
try of Agriculture’s handling of the forest biodiversity mapping project by ªling
an ofªcial complaint to the National Committee for Research Ethics in Science
and Technology (NENT), an independent expert committee established by Par-
liament in 1990, accusing the Ministry of inappropriate allocation of research
funds and use of research results. The issues were discussed in a public hearing
held by NENT in 2004.32 The environmentalists pointed out that the Ministry
had dispensed the research grant to the Norwegian Forest Research Institute
without collecting tenders from other research institutes, and supported the
new method before any results from the research project had been published or
scrutinized by other stakeholders. This meant, according to the environmental-
ists, that the Ministry was more concerned with developing a method favorable
to forest owner’s interests than one based on the best available knowledge.

Equally important, the environmental organizations did not accept the re-
sults of the research project. The environmentalists asked the committee to con-
sider whether the researchers had deliberately sought to discredit the concept of
“key biotopes”; whether the researchers had yielded to pressure from the Minis-

106 • The Role of Science in Environmental Governance

27. Sætersdal et al. 2003; Gjerde et al. 2004; Rolstad et al. 2004; and Sætersdal, Gjerde, and Blom

28. Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture 2001.
29. Gulbrandsen 2003, 104.
30. Gulbrandsen 2003, 104.
31. Norwegian Ministry of the Environment 2001.
32. The author participated as an observer at the public hearing.

try of Agriculture by designing a method that would provide less protection to
red-listed species and natural forests than alternative methods; and whether the
researchers had ignored arguments put forward by other research communities.
They also pointed out that the Swedish forest inventory method, unlike the new
method in Norway, was based on identiªcation of key habitats for threatened

The researchers and the Ministry of Agriculture denied these allegations.
The researchers pointed out that the project had issued a main report in 2002,
and that a number of scientiªc articles ºowing from the project had been pub-
lished more recently. They argued that the new environmental inventory
method would result in conservation of more forestland and larger areas than
the method preferred by the environmentalists. And they claimed that the
Swedish method of selecting woodland key biotopes had several weaknesses,
including a bias toward sites with red-listed plants at the expense of sites with
other species groups (e.g. invertebrates). The forestry authorities in the Ministry
denied having exerted pressure on the researchers to produce results favorable
to the forest owners or to support a method forest owners would ªnd easy to ap-

In the end, NENT concluded that the researchers and the Ministry of Agri-
culture had not behaved unethically in the development of the new method.
The disagreement over the method, according to the committee, stemmed from
the complexity of the issues and scientiªc uncertainty rather than political con-
siderations. The committee found, however, that the Ministry could have han-
dled the research project better and would have avoided some of the contro-
versy if it had given the biologists in Last Chance, environmental organization
representatives and other stakeholders a greater role in the process.33

While there is scientiªc uncertainty about the most useful methods to
map forest biodiversity, and discussions continue, Sweden has clearly done
more to map and protect small reserves than Norway. Sweden has mapped a
number of woodland key habitats, adopted concrete conservation objectives,
and provided limited funding for the protection of such habitats. By contrast,
identiªcation and conservation of small reserves in Norway is entirely based on
voluntary measures and the authorities have not adopted any conservation ob-

Protecting Large Reserves

The development of plans for a network of large forest reserves is among the
most wide-ranging efforts to enhance environmental protection in Swedish for-
estry. Since the initiation of such plans in the 1970s and 1980s, the reports and
recommendations produced by researchers have informed forest protection dis-
cussions. More recently, in 1997, the Swedish Environmental Advisory Council,

Lars H. Gulbrandsen • 107

33. NENT 2004.

composed of 22 members primarily from the scientiªc community and chaired
by the Minister for the Environment, presented a seminal report about the need
for forest protection. The Council recommended that in the short term (10–20
years) an additional 900,000 hectares of forestland needed protection and in
the long term (about 40 years) some 9–16 percent of the forestland should be
protected.34 Environmental organizations welcomed the report and have used it
to support their claims about the need for a substantial increase in the level of
forest protection in Sweden. A few years later, the Swedish Parliament followed
the Council’s recommendation; the new target was for a further 900,000 hec-
tares of forestland of high conservation value to be protected by 2010. The Gov-
ernment is tasked with protecting 400,000 hectares of this area, while forest
owners are expected to set aside a further 500,000 on a voluntary basis.35 While
the situation looks quite promising with regard to voluntary undertakings,
progress in setting aside forestland in nature reserves has progressed quite
slowly. According to the Swedish Environmental Objectives Council, the Gov-
ernment’s target will not be met until 2020 given current funding and existing
price levels for forestland.36 The forest areas in nature reserves and national
parks are primarily located in the montane zone in northern Sweden while ar-
eas safeguarded by habitat protection and nature conservation agreements are
primarily located in southern and central parts of the country.

While Sweden is in the process of protecting ªve percent of its productive
forests, Norway has thus far only protected about one percent of the productive
forestland. The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) has recom-
mended protection of at least 4.5 percent of the productive forests in Norway.37

Remaining wilderness areas in Norway have decreased signiªcantly, from 48
percent in 1900, to 34 percent in 1940, to 12 percent in 1995 and only ªve per-
cent in southern Norway.38 In environmental performance reviews, the Organi-
zation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has repeatedly
criticized Norway’s poor protection of coniferous forests, which is far below
scientiªc recommendations.39 Norway’s poor performance on this indicator is
also highlighted in an evaluation report of protected forestland by NINA from

Compared to Sweden and Finland which have protected 4–5% of their pro-
ductive forest area, Norway has so far protected less than 1% of productive
forest. Protected forest is not representatively distributed by geography or
natural gradients, showing insufªcient protection for Eastern Norway, for

108 • The Role of Science in Environmental Governance

34. Statens Offentlilga Utredningar 1997.
35. Of the area that is to be protected by the government, 320,000 ha are to consist of nature re-

serves; 30,000 ha of habitat protection areas; and 50,000 ha are to be covered by (voluntary)
nature conservation agreements.

36. Swedish Environmental Objectives Council 2006, 61.
37. Framstad et al. 2002.
38. Norwegian Ministry of the Environment 1996–1997. Wilderness areas are deªned as areas

which are at least ªve kilometers away from the nearest technical intervention.
39. OECD 1993 and 2001.

the nemoral, boreonemoral and south boreal vegetation zones, as well as for
low-lying forests in all regions.40

In sum, Sweden has moved faster in complying with scientiªc recommenda-
tions on forest protection levels than Norway. Table 1 shows the area of national
parks and forest reserves in Norway and Sweden.

Establishing Forest Certiªcation Standards

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) was established by private initiative in
1993 to provide a voluntary, market-based certiªcation and labeling scheme. In
Sweden, in 1994, an informal group of scientists and stakeholders formed by
WWF Sweden and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation worked out a
set of criteria for conservation of biodiversity in Swedish forestry. At the initia-
tive of these organizations, a Swedish FSC working group was established in
1996, with participation from all the major environmental groups, the indige-
nous Sámi people, the large forest companies, non-industrial forest owners’ as-
sociations, and other players. By the end of 1997, the members of the working
group, with the exception of the forest owners’ associations, had agreed on a
Swedish FSC standard. All large Swedish forest companies were subsequently
certiªed by the FSC, totaling almost 40 percent of the Swedish forestland. The
forest owners’ associations in Sweden decided to pull out of the FSC working
group owing to disagreement over environmental standards and the indigenous
Sámi people’s rights related to reindeer herding on private forestland in the
northern region.42 Following their withdrawal from the FSC working group,
they developed their own standards and contributed to the creation of the Pan

Lars H. Gulbrandsen • 109

40. Framstad et al. 2002, 3.
41. Adapted from Stokland et al. 2003, 88.
42. See Elliott 1999, 385–387; and Cashore, Auld, and Newsom 2004, 204.

Table 1
Area of National Parks and Forest Reserves (1000 Ha)41

Productive forests Poorly productive Other land Total land area

Norway Sweden Norway Sweden Norway Sweden Norway Sweden

North boreal 34 534 147 1335 1180 1515 1361 3384
Mid boreal 18 108 7 72 19 60 44 240
South boreal 5 28 1 8 6 7 12 43
Hemi boreal 8 77 2 39 5 42 15 158
Nemoral 1 18 0 14 0 6 1 38
Total area 66 765 157 1468 1210 1630 1433 3863

European Forest Certiªcation scheme, since 2003 known as the Programme for
the Endorsement of Forest Certiªcation (PEFC).

By contrast, in Norway, the 1995–98 Living Forests project was established
by the Norwegian Forest Owners’ Federation, representing the forest owners’ as-
sociations in Norway, and Norske Skog, the only major Norwegian pulp and pa-
per company, to work out national standards for sustainable forestry and to
build environmental skills among forest owners. Environmental organizations
and other NGOs participated in the project. All participants in the Living Forests
project agreed on 23 standards for sustainable forest management in 1998.
These standards, accompanied by criteria and indicators, were used to certify
forest owners’ associations. However, because WWF and the Norwegian Society
for Nature Conservation wanted the standards elaborated with a view to certify-
ing forestry operations, they suggested setting up a Norwegian FSC working
group to adapt the Living Forests standards to FSC’s principles and criteria. The
forest owners rejected the proposal and opted instead for the International Or-
ganization for Standardization (ISO) environmental management system stan-
dard ISO 14001 in combination with the performance level deªned by the Liv-
ing Forests standards. Following disagreement with the forest owners over the
interpretation and implementation of some of the key standards, the environ-
mental organizations in 2001 withdrew their support for the Living Forests
scheme. Currently, about 90 percent of the forestland in Norway is certiªed in
accordance with the Living Forests standards, which are endorsed by the forest
owner dominated PEFC umbrella scheme.

The Swedish FSC standards are generally more stringent and demanding
than the Norwegian Living Forests standards. The most salient difference is that
while the FSC requires at least ªve percent of the most biologically valuable
forestland to be permanently set aside, the corresponding ªgure in the Living
Forest standard is about one percent.43 The tension between FSC and PEFC sup-
porters in Sweden and Norway is part of a broader worldwide competition for
credibility, rule-making authority and landowner support. While FSC provides
prescriptive performance-based standards, PEFC-endorsed schemes tend to
place greater weight on organizational measures, procedural rules, and discre-
tion in forest management.44


On all issues examined, namely the protection of small reserves, the protection
of large reserves, and the making of forest certiªcation standards, Sweden has
enacted more stringent environmental rules and policies than Norway. The fol-
lowing section discusses whether these differences can be explained by variation
in: 1) the state of knowledge about environmental protection needs in forestry;

110 • The Role of Science in Environmental Governance

43. Gulbrandsen 2005.
44. See Cashore, Auld, and Newsom 2004; Gulbrandsen 2004; and Humphreys 2006.

2) the access of stakeholders to the science-policy dialogue; or 3) the distribu-
tion of costs and beneªts in the forestry sector.

State of Knowledge

Knowledge about biological diversity and ecosystem services features promi-
nently in forest policy discussions and all stakeholders now seem to accept envi-
ronmental protection as a legitimate objective. The 1992 Convention on Bio-
logical Diversity established global principles and norms that, inter alia, require
the parties to the convention to protect ecosystems, natural habitats and viable
populations of species in their natural surroundings.45 Ecosystem services are
the beneªts provided by ecosystems to people.46 Forests provide a number of
valuable ecosystem services, including commodities such as timber and fuel,
and services such as wildlife habitats, erosion control, water ªltration, and car-
bon sequestration. In the course of only a few years, what we now know of for-
est biodiversity and ecosystem services has fundamentally changed the ways in
which public authorities, environmentalists and forestry interest organizations
talk about and discuss environmental protection in forestry.47 Whereas a few de-
cades ago science was primarily used to increase productivity and yield, knowl-
edge about the environmental effects of forestry is now seen as salient and rele-
vant to policy-making.

In public discourses, all stakeholders seem to agree that forest companies
and forest owners must take account of environmental considerations in all for-
estry operations. There is wide consensus among researchers on promoting cer-
tain forestry practices, for example leaving dead wood, setting aside biodiversity
hotspots, and restricting forest road construction and other technical interven-
tions in forestry operations. However, they disagree about the proportion of
forestland to be protected to conserve biodiversity; the use of indicator species
of species richness; how to identify particularly valuable forest areas for conser-
vation; and how to quantify necessary protection measures. The effect of for-
estry practices on biodiversity is an extremely complex issue. According to one
estimate, 17 percent of the forest-dwelling species on the Norwegian Red List are
threatened by forestry, 13 percent are at risk from other threats, while the threat
to the remaining 70 percent is unknown or inconclusive.48 In some cases the ef-
fect of environmental protection measures on ecosystems may be impossible to
detect in the short term; some effects may not appear for 100 years or more. And
how we measure the more immediate effects of both environmental protection
measures and forestry operations on the ground is also contested.

Researchers have been reluctant to recommend forest protection levels
and other environmental protection levels (operationalized as, e.g., number

Lars H. Gulbrandsen • 111

45. Convention on Biological Diversity 1992, article 8(d).
46. Daily 1997; and Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005.
47. Cf. Lisberg Jensen 2000.
48. Norwegian Ministry of the Environment 2000–2001, 118.

and size of small reserves, number of large trees to be left standing, or amount
of dead wood to preserve), but these are precisely the kind of recommendations
policy-makers are calling for. As a consequence, biologists and other forestry re-
searchers have been forced to enter the world of politics and policy-making.
This boundary work is typical of environmental assessments where there is no
clear demarcation between doing science and making policy, but rather a nego-
tiated boundary that can shift in response to scientiªc and political priorities.49

As highlighted earlier, the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
(NINA) recommends protecting at least 4.5 percent of the productive forest in
Norway in a network of large reserves. Critics at the Norwegian Forest Research
Institute claimed that NINA made this recommendation simply by proposing
that all forest types in Norway should have the same level of protection, without
considering the need for biodiversity protection in different forest types and cli-
matic zones.50 NINA’s comparisons to protected areas in Sweden is also mis-
leading, they allege, ªrst because Sweden has a higher concentration of pro-
tected low-productive forests in northern areas and in higher elevations and
second because montane topography renders large areas of Norway commer-
cially unexploitable, reducing the need for forest protection. In response, envi-
ronmental organizations, who endorse NINA’s recommendation, say that the
level of exploitation depends on market prices and demand for forest products.
There is therefore a more urgent need for statutory protection of forests. More-
over, the protected forestland in Norway is biased towards the north boreal
zone and has a higher proportion of poorly productive forests than productive
forests in all vegetation zones.51

Despite these discussions on how to quantify the need for forest protec-
tion, most researchers in Norway want to see more forests protected and greater
commitment to environmental protection in forestry. Norway, they add, has
done less than Sweden to take action on forest protection in response to
scientiªc advice. While there has been more controversy about methods of map-
ping forest biodiversity in Norway than in Sweden, the major difference seems
to lie in variation in access to the science-policy dialogue and in the policy pro-
cess itself (see next section). In conclusion, then, differences in the state of
knowledge of environmental protection needs in the two countries do not seem
to explain why Sweden has protected more forestland and enacted stricter envi-
ronmental protection rules than Norway.

Access to the Science-Policy Dialogue

The development of methods for identifying and protecting small reserves has
been quite different in Norway and Sweden. While the national forestry author-

112 • The Role of Science in Environmental Governance

49. Salter 1988; Jasanoff 1990; Cash, Clark et al. 2003; and Mitchell et al. 2006.
50. Gjerde and Rolstad 2004.
51. Stokland et al. 2003, 88.

ities controlled the process from the start in Sweden, an independent group out-
side the traditional research community initiated the process in Norway. Inter-
estingly, when the group Last Chance introduced a method for environmental
inventories more or less based on the method already developed in Sweden, the
Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture responded by initiating a large-scale research
project of its own and granting funds for the project to the Norwegian Forest Re-
search Institute, which is accountable to the Ministry. In this case, the need for
research-based knowledge was used as an argument by the authorities to regain
control of a policy ªeld of increasing importance to the forestry sector and, ar-
guably, to implement policies preferred by the forest owners. In short, the au-
thorities responded to knowledge producers that emerged outside the estab-
lished research system by reclaiming the issue area and giving privileged access
to a select group of knowledge producers. This was a key decision point or
branching point in the policy process that foreclosed certain paths in the devel-
opment of the method and steered the outcome in a direction different than
that preferred by the environmentalists.52

Claims about scientiªc knowledge can be used to legitimate some policies
and give some stakeholders privileged access to policy processes. They can also
be used to exclude actors from rule-making processes, as when the Ministry of
Agriculture’s called Last Chance’s method of environmental inventory in for-
estry “unscientiªc” and “ideologically motivated.” The Last Chance biologists,
who in fact had pioneered environmental inventories in Norwegian forests,
claimed they subsequently were excluded from the development of the
“scientiªc method” for environmental inventories. When they appealed to
NENT, protesting that the Ministry of Agriculture and the Norwegian Forest Re-
search Institute had behaved unethically, it was in part in response to this exclu-
sion. In general, researchers working with regulatory (policy-relevant) science
are more likely to face accusations of unethical or inappropriate conduct than
those working with basic science because the boundary between political and
scientiªc spheres in the former case is blurred.53 As a consequence, it becomes
increasingly difªcult to distinguish “facts” from “values” and “scientiªc” from
“normative” arguments. This helps explain why environmental organizations
claim that the Ministry of Agriculture and the Norwegian Forest Research Insti-
tute behaved unethically, even though NENT acquitted them of the accusations.

Whereas state-driven policy-making in the forestry sector was dominated
by governmental agencies and certain forestry research communities, environ-
mental, social, and economic stakeholders participated on an equal footing in
forest certiªcation projects. In state-driven protection processes, the access struc-
ture could be described as a hierarchic system in which participation is controlled
by the national authorities who choose among alternative knowledge produc-
ers.54 Stakeholders give input to the process and may inºuence policy decisions,

Lars H. Gulbrandsen • 113

52. Cf. George and Bennett 2005, 212.
53. Jasanoff 1990.
54. Cf. March and Olsen 1989.

but privileged access for a select group of scientiªc input providers is granted by
the authorities. By contrast, forest certiªcation standard-setting projects could
be characterized as loosely structured systems with few formal or practical barriers
for actors who seek to provide scientiªc input,55 although they tend to become
more institutionalized over time. In both Sweden and Norway, environmental
organizations had greater access to nonstate-driven rule-making processes than
to state-driven processes.

In the certiªcation standards development process, scientiªc experts, for-
est owners, environmentalists, and other stakeholders engaged in a process of
coproduction of knowledge that was used as a basis for standard-setting. The
Norwegian Living Forests working group produced a number of comprehensive
and detailed reports to facilitate knowledge-based standard development for is-
sue areas such as protection of old, large trees and dead wood, harvesting meth-
ods, fertilizing, forest area protection, forest affected by ªre, biological hotspots,
and so on. The group also reported results from research and development
(R&D) projects, such as harvesting method test areas, initiated and overseen by
all stakeholders. Unlike the Norwegian Living Forest working group, the Swed-
ish FSC working group did not initiate R&D projects, but experts were involved
in the standard-setting process and references to expert knowledge were com-
monly used to substantiate claims about appropriate environmental protection
measures. Some of the environmental NGO representatives were biologists who
earlier had arranged training courses for forestry company staff and conducted
ªeld studies of ecological landscape planning.56 They frequently referred to re-
search reports and scientiªc recommendations to substantiate proposals for
strong environmental protection measures. While conceding to the pressure for
quite stringent forestland set-aside requirements in the FSC-standard, the forest
industry representatives rejected other proposals from the environmentalists,
particularly requests to prohibit the introduction of exotic species and ban the
use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in forestry, claiming that the scientiªc
evidence of ecological impacts was inconclusive.57 The industry representatives
maintained that any provision in the standards that would change or restrict
forestry practices should be based on ªrm scientiªc evidence and facts.58

Despite having different interests, the parties were able to handle scientiªc
uncertainty and resolve controversies through rule-setting and institutional ar-
rangements. First, they agreed on rules that provided direction for forestry oper-
ations, but at the same time allowed forest owners discretion in applying the
rules and adapting them to local circumstances. Second, in the absence of con-
clusive scientiªc evidence, they referred to “further research” and the need to
adapt standards in light of new evidence on the effects of forestry practices on
biodiversity and other environmental qualities in forests. Third, they required a

114 • The Role of Science in Environmental Governance

55. Cf. March and Olsen 1989.
56. Elliott 1999, 386.
57. See also Boström 2002.
58. Elliott 1999, 386.

re-negotiation of all standards in a process involving the major stakeholder
groups after the ªrst ªve years of operation. Managing knowledge uncertainty
by referring to further research, allowing for different interpretations of rules,
and creating organizational procedures for adapting rules to new knowledge fa-
cilitated agreement among environmental, social and economic interests.59

It is evident that science was considered a legitimate and authoritative
source of reference by all stakeholders in the Norwegian and Swedish standard-
setting processes. Indeed, scientiªc information about the environmental im-
pact of forestry practices fostered compromise and consensus among them. Al-
though the parties sometimes presented competing knowledge claims, they
generally trusted scientiªc research and agreed that scientiªc knowledge ought
to play a prominent role in the standard-development process. In practice, how-
ever, the scientiªc basis of the agreed standards was not always clear. Consider-
ations about the costs and feasibility of implementing, monitoring, and verify-
ing compliance with environmental standards were sometimes more important
than discussions about environmental protection needs (see next section).
Nonetheless, the parties referred to expert knowledge and cited scientiªc evi-
dence to justify and legitimize the agreed standards. Such references and cita-
tions were important in order to convince relevant constituencies and audiences
that all standards were based on credible scientiªc knowledge.

The question, then, is whether differences in access structure can explain
why the Swedish FSC standards became more stringent than the Norwegian Liv-
ing Forests standards. As mentioned earlier, environmental, social and eco-
nomic stakeholders were represented in equal measure on the standard devel-
opment groups in both countries. However, while the Swedish process was
initiated by the WWF, the Norwegian process was initiated by the Norwegian
Forest Owners’ Federation and other forestry interests. The Swedish working
group’s agenda was largely set by the green NGOs.60 This was accepted by the
Swedish forest companies, but led to resentment in the forest owners’ associa-
tions, who eventually withdrew from the standard development group. Stake-
holders participated on a level playing ªeld in the Norwegian group, but the
process was initiated and driven by forestry interests. And although the environ-
mental NGOs participating in the Living Forest group favored FSC certiªcation,
the forest owners opted for the less demanding PEFC scheme. Hence, NGO ac-
cess to and inºuence in the standard development groups partly explain why
the Swedish standards became stricter than the Norwegian standards. That said,
in order to explain why Swedish forest companies accepted more stringent envi-
ronmental rules, we also need to consider variation in ownership patterns and
forest industry structure.

Lars H. Gulbrandsen • 115

59. See also Boström 2002.
60. Elliott 1999, 385–389.

Distribution of Costs and Beneªts in the Forestry Sector

In Sweden, large forest companies, of which the largest in terms of forest owner-
ship is state-owned, control 39 percent of the forestland. Some 51 percent of the
forestland is controlled by small non-industrial owners, and the rest by other
owners. By contrast, about 80 percent of the Norwegian forestland is owned by
small non-industrial owners, with only 20 percent divided among a handful of
major landowners. Variation in the distribution of costs and beneªts in the for-
estry sector helps explain the differences in performance of Norway and Swe-
den. First, it is less costly for big Swedish forest companies to comply with set-
aside requirements like the Swedish FSC requirement to permanently set aside
ªve percent of the forestland than for small owners. Because biologically valu-
able set-aside areas have to be of a certain minimum size, it is easier to preserve
such areas in larger properties. It may in fact not be meaningful to conform to a
ªve percent set-aside requirement on small properties with no biological
hotspots. Other small owners may have a signiªcant proportion of high conser-
vation value forestland on their land, but conservation of these areas could
force them out of business. Economies of scale also make it less costly for the
large forest companies to employ ecologists, conduct environmental inventories
on their forestland, and implement environmental management systems. Thus,
although the Swedish forest ownership structure facilitated agreement on strin-
gent environmental standards, the Norwegian forest ownership structure made
forest owners less willing to accept stringent environmental rules.

Second, the Swedish state, through the state-owned company Sveaskog,
owns 18 percent of the country’s forests. This facilitates the adoption of non-
commercial objectives such as forest protection and biodiversity conservation.
In comparison, the state is a minor forest owner in Norway and has sold off
most of the forestland it previously owned.

Finally, the greater acceptance of environmental protection measures in
Sweden can also be explained by the fact that the Swedish forestry sector is
much larger and more export oriented that the Norwegian forestry sector. As a
result of transnational environmental activist campaigns and pressure from pro-
fessional purchasers of paper and forest products, all Swedish forest companies
adopted the relatively stringent FSC certiªcation standards. Being vertically inte-
grated companies, with their own sawmills and pulp and paper mills in Swe-
den, the large forest companies are directly exposed to international NGO activ-
ism and market pressures to protect the environment. Publicly announced
preferences for FSC certiªed paper and wood products by powerful buyers in
Germany and Britain convinced the Swedish forest companies to support FSC-
style certiªcation.61 Although this did not prevent the non-industrial forest own-
ers from choosing another scheme, the preferences of major buyers and transna-
tional NGO targeting of the large forest companies largely explains FSC’s suc-
cess in Sweden.

116 • The Role of Science in Environmental Governance

61. Elliott 1999; Cashore, Auld, and Newsom 2004; and Gulbrandsen 2005.

Norwegian forest owners did not escape international pressure to enhance
environmental protection in forestry, but were less exposed to it than Swedish
companies. Most Norwegian pulpwood is sold to the domestically based pulp
and paper company, Norske Skog, the second largest supplier of newsprint in
the world. Large publishing houses in Germany, in particular the giants Springer
Verlag and Otto Versand, are among the most important buyers of printing pa-
per from Norske Skog. Following environmental NGO pressure in 1993–94,
German publishing houses demanded supplier documentation that the paper
originated from sustainable forestry. Development of national sustainable for-
est management standards in Norway came about largely in response to those
demands.62 Although the powerful German publishing houses asked suppliers
to verify that Norwegian forests were sustainably managed, they relaxed their
former preference for FSC certiªed wood as a result of limited supplies and pro-
tests from non-industrial forest owners in several European countries. And be-
cause the Swedish (and Finnish) non-industrial forest owners had already re-
jected FSC-style certiªcation, Norwegian forest owners could reap the beneªts
of their efforts to promote competing schemes in the marketplace. Whereas the
industrial forest companies in Sweden responded to market pressures by accept-
ing quite stringent environmental standards, the lower market exposure of non-
industrial forest owners in both Norway and Sweden helps explain why they re-
jected those standards. In conclusion, variation in the distribution of costs and
beneªts in the Swedish and Norwegian forestry sectors seems particularly im-
portant for explaining divergence in the stringency of forest certiªcation stan-
dards in the two countries.


This study strongly supports the political-institutional proposition that the
inºuence of knowledge producers in rule-making processes depends on access
to the science-policy dialogue. Scientiªc input in forest policy processes in Nor-
way and Sweden has been controlled by national forestry authorities. The for-
estry authorities granted the forestry research community, particularly national
forestry universities and research institutes, privileged access to the rule-making
process. Other knowledge producers, such as biologists operating outside the
traditional forestry research community, had limited access to these processes.
By contrast, forest certiªcation standard-setting projects have been inclusive,
stakeholder-owned processes. Although the knowledge producers who accessed
and inºuenced rule-making in forest certiªcation processes were more numer-
ous and heterogeneous than those who dominated state-driven policy-making,
knowledge helped build compromises and settle disputes in those processes.

The research also supports the proposition, based on a political economy
perspective, that the inºuence of knowledge depends on the way the environ-

Lars H. Gulbrandsen • 117

62. Gulbrandsen 2003.

mental problem and its solutions are related to the distribution of costs and
beneªts in society. In both Sweden and Norway, the scientiªc basis of the agreed
forest certiªcation standards was not always clear, with economic consider-
ations about on-the-ground implementation sometimes dominating over scien-
tiªc information. In some cases, reference to expert knowledge served to justify
standards that had been agreed upon due to pragmatic considerations regarding
the costs and feasibility of implementing them. As expected, structural differ-
ences such as variation in ownership patterns and forest industry structure help
account for why Norway lags behind Sweden on environmental protection in
forestry. But the narratives told here also highlight path dependency and the im-
portance of the process by which knowledge is created, as witnessed in the Nor-
wegian forest biodiversity mapping process. When the Ministry of Agriculture
ªrst decided to take control of the process, it narrowed the range of options for
method development. It would have been extremely difªcult to reverse the pro-
cess after the funds had been allocated to the Norwegian Forest Research Insti-
tute. Once these decisions had been taken, they shaped and constrained future
choices and actions, resulting in the development of speciªc paths along which
policy processes followed.

This study gives less support to the rational-instrumental approach and
the expectation that the inºuence of knowledge depends on the level of scien-
tiªc consensus and certainty in environmental assessments. To be sure, consen-
sual knowledge can facilitate agreement among decision-makers and competing
knowledge claims can result in stalemates and deep conºicts. As seen in the
mapping of small set-aside areas, particularly in Norway, knowledge complexity
and uncertainty allowed a wide range of actors to produce competing knowl-
edge claims. But even when consensual knowledge exists within the scientiªc
community, it is difªcult to predict the outcome of the rule-setting process with-
out considering the interests, actors, and policy issues involved because the pol-
icy implications of scientiªc ªndings are not always, and perhaps rarely, clear or
possible to derive. Claims about the policy implications of scientiªc ªndings are
often related to speciªc interests, power-games and struggles for political inºu-
ence and resources. Indeed, there is likely to be co-variation between the level
of scientiªc consensus and the economic or political interests at stake in the
policy-making process; when economic or political stakes are high, science is
likely to be contested. It is problematic, therefore, to view science as a source of
veriªable facts that always could and should settle political disputes and guide
action. Of course, science provides facts for policy-makers that sometimes guide
political action, but more often, science seems to become politicized in public

In conclusion, science can take on different roles in rule-making processes,
depending on access to the science-policy dialogue, organization of the policy
process, and the interests at stake. Even conclusive scientiªc evidence about the

118 • The Role of Science in Environmental Governance

63. See also Sarewitz 2004.

causes of the environmental problem at hand seems to have little inºuence on
policies when powerful economic counter-forces are involved in the decision-
making process. But this problem can be ameliorated by deliberate institutional
design of the science-policy interface. The Norwegian and Swedish cases show
that the inºuence of knowledge depends on the process by which it is created,
particularly the access of various knowledge producers and users to the science-
policy dialogue. It seems that science has a greater chance of settling disputes,
overcoming economic interests, and guiding action in inclusive, deliberative
rule-making processes than in processes dominated by particular interests and
groups. The knowledge invoked in the latter type of process will usually not be
accepted as credible or useful by the stakeholders that are excluded or marginal-
ized in the process. As a result, disputes over knowledge and policies are likely
to continue and science is not likely to settle value disputes or overcome com-
peting interests. By contrast, a process of coproduction of knowledge between
scientists, practitioners with tacit knowledge, and decision-makers could create
trust, produce credible and policy-relevant knowledge, and facilitate agreement
on appropriate environmental protection measures.64 As seen in the forest cert-
iªcation processes, stakeholder participation in the science-policy dialogue not
only creates a sense of ownership of outcomes; it also inºuences what knowl-
edge gets produced. There is a need for further research on ways to bridge the
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