Closing the gap – integrating forest research outcomes in nominal forest policy formation


Start date: 30 September, 2009 End date: 30 December, 2012 Project type: Smaller projects: PhD Project code: 09-025LIFE Countries: Zambia Thematic areas: Natural resource management, Lead institution: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Policy Brief: Read Project coordinator: Kewin Bach Friis Kamelarczyk Total grant: 171,566 DKK

Project summary

The overall objective of this PhD project is to contribute to a better understanding of the science- policy interface in developing countries by investigating the contemporary role of forestry research outcomes in nominal forest policy formation.

Based on theories from public policy science, an analytical framework will be developed on which to evaluate the impact of forestry research on nominal forest policy formation. Empirical data will be collected in Zambia and Guatemala with two scientific projects as cases: FAO’s support to National Forest Monitoring and Assessments (NFMA) and CIFOR’s Poverty and Environmental Network (PEN) project. Strong collaboration has been established with both projects.

Operational recommendations will be synthesised and communicated to relevant national and international stakeholders on what socio-economic information are required in the formation of forest policy, how these requirements are identified and how to enhance the utilisation of forestry research outcomes in forest policy formation. Focus will be placed on the link between forestry research and forest policy that address forest resources' contribution to poverty alleviation. Scientific papers, working papers and in-country seminars will be main communication channels. The study findings will form a fertile base for dialogue among both national and international stakeholders participating in the forest policy formation process.


Project Completion Report:

Scientific knowledge has increasingly been cailed for to inform environmental policy making. The PhD project has investigated science-policy interactions in forestry employing the REDD+ process and deforestation in Zambia as case. The following main findings are reached:

•Forestry policy change is not determined much by scientific knowiedge in a 'pure  form'. Rather, policy change happens in response to new funding opportunities; push from collaborating partners; and interests held by powerful actors

•Barriers in access to relevant information and low levels of participations in decision making processes are other reasons for the negligible roie of science


To arrive at a fruitful relationship between science and policy, the following proposals are made:


•Understanding science-policy interaction requires a flexible view on how the two social domains are seperated

•Environmental knowiedge production has to be democratic and integratc multiple perceptions of credible knowledge

•Space has to be in place for critically research and discussion of pertinent policy issues

•The role of science-policy intermediaries (e.g. consultants) should be
recognized as boundary spanners, rather than representatives of scientific objectivity

•Allocation of resources to policy design and implementation should target the deconstruction of the policy issue in question

•Design and implementation of policies should draw on situated and multiple types of knowledge.

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