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Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database: Studies

Cashore, Benjamin, and Michael W. Stone. 2012. "Can legality verification rescue global forest governance?: Analyzing the potential of public and private policy intersection to ameliorate forest challenges in Southeast Asia." Forest Policy and Economics no. 18 (0):13-22. doi: 10.1016/j.forpol.2011.12.005.

Abstract:One of the most important and pressing questions of our times is to understand better what types of governance arrangements at the local, domestic and international levels, as well as innovative non-state market driven mechanisms that might best address fundamentally important but seemingly intractable environmental, economic and social challenges. This paper sheds light on these questions by assessing the emergence of legality verification as a means to address global forest degradation. Legality verification is puzzling because it presents a relatively modest solution compared to previous efforts to build a legally binding global forest convention, global certification systems or domestic focused “good forest governance” initiatives, and yet it is garnering the interest of wide ranging and diverse global coalitions within developed and developing countries. Does the relatively limited scope of legality verification represent a “race to the bottom” in global forest regulation that many scholars assert is inevitable with the rise of economic globalization? Or, does legality verification trigger the beginning of a process that may provide institutional solutions to global forest governance in ways that previous efforts have yet to accomplish? The purpose of this paper is to offer a theoretical framework with which to guide future research on these questions. To accomplish this task we distinguish conceptually legality verification from global certification and domestic good forest governance initiatives. We then review current support in developed and developing countries, focusing our lens on coalitions supporting legality verification in the United States, European Union, and Southeast Asia. Third, inductively from this review, and deductively, we develop propositions to guide further conceptual and empirical researches focusing on the institutionalization “logics” of legality verification to become an authoritative arena of global forest governance, as well as its potential to reinforce, rather than detract from, global certification and good forest governance initiatives.

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