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Working across boundaries: Science-policy interfaces and international forest politics

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Disciplines
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Political Science

Abstract

If scientific knowledge is to influence international environmental policy it needs to be recognised as authoritative and impartial by key politicians and policy makers. In the case of climate change this is achieved by a boundary organisation, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which enables climate scientists to demonstrate the veracity of their research to climate policy makers while, for the most part, maintaining scientific integrity and resisting political interference in scientific conclusions. However, in the absence of such an organisation for forest science the international forest science community has come forward and created its own mechanism - the Global Forest Expert Panels - which responds to demands from the forest policy community for knowledge in particular areas and which in some respects is based on the IPCC model. However, even if a more effective forest-science policy boundary organisation were to exist, progress in international forest policy would be constrained by some long standing political divisions, in particular on the financing of sustainable forest management.

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