State of the art in international forest policy

Senast ändrad: 19 januari 2018

A NOVA finansed class that is scheduled for fall 2017. No exact date is settled yet. The course is offered in collaboration between EFINORD and Department of Forest Economics.

This PhD level course is given in collaboration between EFINORD, NOVA, CERE (Centre for Environmental and Resource Economics) and Department of Forest Economics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. The course especially invites graduate students from the agricultural and natural sciences universities in the Nordic and Baltic region. Government officials from e.g., forest agencies or staff at forest companies are also welcome to participate in the course.

Subject: Economics

Level: master/graduate course

Number of credits: 7,5 ETCS

Marking scale: Pass/Fail

Location: Umeå, Sweden

Prerequisites: The course is specifically aimed at PhD students within the field of economics, forest management and related subjects. Knowledge in basic microeconomics, and/or natural resource economics is assumed. Good knowledge in English is vital to be able to follow the course.


Course period: 2017-09-04 – 2017-10-08

Lecture period: 2017-09-11 – 2017-09-15, the remainder consists of self-study time.

Learning objectives:

The course aims to provide understanding of international forest policy on global as well as European level from a broad social science perspective, with an emphasis on the economics perspective. The course aims at an interdisciplinary audience, welcoming students not only from core social sciences but also from management of natural resources, forests being one example. The course also aims at progress from a theoretical definition of forest policy to practical examples of forest policy on the EU level.

In more detail the learning outcomes are to gain:

  • a general overview of international forest policy and climate change mitigation and adaptation and related frameworks,
  • an in-depth understanding of the political economy of deforestation, and related policy instruments,
  • an in-depth understanding of methods and approaches to analyze actors and institutions in specific policy arenas, using the example of REDD+,
  • a general overview on important European forest related policies and actors,
  • an in-depth economic understanding of how European forest and environmental policy making works, from both a theoretical and practical perspective, and
  • a general overview of European forest and climate policy development in practice, from the perspective of an EU Member State negotiator.  


International Forest Policy has grown as a field over the past decades, with multiple international conventions and treaties highlighting the potential role and positive contributions of forest globally. One example, which will be explored in the opening lectures of the course, is the acknowledgement of forests’ role in climate change mitigation and adaptation in the Paris agreement. Especially in the climate change context, avoided deforestation has gained track in international and national policy arenas over the past decade. Deforestation is often driven by weak tenure systems within the forest sector, incentives for land conversion to agricultural production, and by global trade and investment patterns within weak governance frameworks as one of the root causes. In such a multi-level environment, when multiple and diverse actors compete to realize their interests, to move away from business as usual of deforestation and the underlying political economy requires transformational change. Changing discourses recognizing the value of standing forests, changing economic incentive structures and new actor coalitions with changing power relations are possible pathways forward. During the course, we will discuss a framework to understand the political economy of deforestation and diverse policy instruments that aim to tackle deforestation in tropical countries. Finally, methods and approaches will be introduced to analyze the political economy of deforestation. The students will then explore the opportunities and challenges for transformational change in selected policy arenas (e.g. by country; by mechanism (REDD+, New York Declaration on Zero Deforestation, Roundtables; and/or commodity (beef, soy, oil palm, etc.).

The course will then move from the global policy problem of deforestation towards a discussion of European challenges and opportunities for forest policy. The European (and namely the EU) policy arena relates to the perhaps most crucial decision making level in forest policy for the European countries. The lectures on European forest and environmental policy will first introduce the European policy making arena including important institutions, actors and processes. Subsequently, we will investigate distinct policies in more depth, drawing on empirical social research data, and relate the findings to bigger theoretical ways of thinking about the European policy arena. Another focus will be put on the implementation and impact for European policies, again drawing on empirical social science data. Finally, the course will explore possible ways into the future for European forest governance, discussing issues such as the Brexit and its implications on European forest and environmental policy.

The course starts with a self-study period of course material, continues with an intensive week of lectures and is finalized with an individual essay.

The pre-lecture period assignment is to conduct a brief analysis of selected case-study areas restricted to REDD+ countries. The students will prepare posters or other forms of visualization or presentation of the case. During the course, students will be organized by the selected case studies and will continue to work on these cases in groups during the course. This is connected to lectures on the global perspective of forest policy, offered by a professor in international forest policy.

Next, the course will take the European perspective, with lectures on forest policy, represented by a lecturer with long-term experience in European forest policy research.

The course will be concluded by lectures from a practitioner’s point of view, discussing the EU-level, and how national policy feed into EU policies addressing forests. The lecturer has long-term experience as negotiator from the Swedish government, giving insights to the organization of forest policy work within an EU member state and how policies addressing forest management and/or climate change are negotiated and developed within the EU, using a current proposal for EU legislation as an example.

The post-lecture period assignment is to write an essay related to European forest and environmental policy-making, which relates to the lectures on the European perspective.

Thus, the course includes a blend of lectures, group discussions, practical exercises, and home-assignments. Each accepted participant must send to the organizers a two-page note describing 1) the issues they work on of relevance for this course, 2) their expectations as to how the course may benefit them.

Estimated workload

Total time is 200 hours divided between:

  • 20 hour of lecture
  • 10 hour of seminar
  • 170 hour of independent work

Requirements for examination:

Approved pre-lecture period assignment and post-lecture period essay paper.

Other information:

The Department of Forest Economics reserves the right to cancel the course if there are not more than 5 students who have applied and is accepted to the course.

There is no tuition fee for students who are affiliated with a NOVA (the Nordic Forestry, Veterinary and Agricultural University Network) or BOVA (the Baltic Forestry, Veterinary and Agricultural University Network) university. Other students are charged with a fee of SEK 2000 to be paid before the course starts. Please check the NOVA homepage and the BOVA homepage for information regarding eligibility. 

Literature list (additional items may be added):

  1. Winkel, G. & Derks, J. (2016): The Nature of Brexit. How the UK exiting the European Union could affect European forest and (forest related) environmental policy. Forest Policy and Economics, 70: 124–127 (Available online: doi:10.1016/j.forpol.2016.06.007)
  2. Winkel, G. & Sotirov, M. (2016): Whose Integration is this? European forest policy between the gospel of coordination, institutional competition, and new spirits of integration. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 34 (3): 496-514.
  3. Borrass, L., Sotirov, M. & Winkel, G. (2015): Policy Change and Europeanization. Analysing the implementation of the European Union’s Habitats Directive in Germany and the United Kingdom. Environmental Politics 24 (5): 788-809.
  4. Sotirov, M., Lovric, M. & Winkel, G. (2015): Symbolic Transformation of Environmental Governance: Implementation of EU Biodiversity Policy in Bulgaria and Croatia between Europeanization and Domestic Politics. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 33 (5): 986-1004.
  5. Winkel, G., Blondet, M., Borrass, L., Frei, T., Geitzenauer, M., Gruppe, A., Jump, A., De Koning, J., Sotirov, M., Weiss, G., Winter, S. & Turnhout, E. (2015): The implementation of Natura 2000 in forests: a trans- and interdisciplinary assessment of challenges and choices. Environmental Science and Policy 52: 23-32.
  6. Winter, S., Borrass, L., Geitzenauer, M., Blondet, M., Breibeck, R., Weiß, G. & Winkel, G. (2014): The Impact of Natura 2000 on Forest Management - a socio-ecological analysis in the continental region of the European Union. Biodiversity and Conservation 23: 3451-3482.
  7. Pülzl, H., Hogl, K., Kleinschmit, D., Wydra, D., Arts, B., Mayer, P., Palahi, M., Winkel, G. & Wolfslehner, B. (Eds.) (2013): European Forest Governance: Issues at Stake and the Way Forward. EFI Series: What Science can tell us 2, 100 p.
  8. Angelsen, A., Brockhaus, M., Sunderlin, W. D., & Verchot, L. V. (Eds.). (2012): Analysing REDD+: Challenges and choices. CIFOR, Bogor, Indonesia.
  9. Angelsen, A. & Rudel, T. K. (2013): Designing and implementing effective REDD+ policies: A forest transition approach. Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, 7(1): 91-113.
  10. Brockhaus, M. & Angelsen, A. (2012): Seeing REDD+ through 4Is: A political economy framework. In: Angelsen, A., Brockhaus, M., Sunderlin, W. D., & Verchot, L. V. (Eds.): Analysing REDD+: Challenges and choices. CIFOR, Bogor, Indonesia.
  11. Brockhaus M., Korhonen-Kurki, K., Sehring, J., Di Gregorio, M., Assembe-Mvondo, S., Babon, A., Bekele, M., Gebara, M.F., Khatri, D.B., Kambire, H., Kengoum, F., Kweka, D., Menton, M., Moeliono, M., Paudel, N.S., Pham, T.T., Resosudarmo, I.A.P., Sitoe, A., Wunder, S. & Zida, M. (2016): REDD+, transformational change and the promise of performance-based payments: A qualitative comparative analysis. Climate Policy, DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2016.1169392.
  12. Brockhaus, M., Di Gregorio, M. & Mardiah, S. (2014): Governing the design of national REDD+: An analysis of the power of agency. Forest Policy and Economics 49: 23-33.
  13. Brockhaus, M., Di Gregorio, M. & Carmenta, R. (2014): REDD+ policy networks: Exploring actors and power structures in an emerging policy domain. Ecology & Society 19(4): 29.
  14. Lambin, E. F., Meyfroidt, P., Rueda, X., Blackman, A., Börner, J., Cerutti, P., Dietsch, P., Jungmann, L., Lamarque, P., Lister, J., Walker, N.F. & Wunder, S. (2014): Effectiveness and synergies of policy instruments for land use governance in tropical regions. Global Environmental Change, 28: 129-140.
  15. Vijge M.J., Brockhaus M., Di Gregorio M. & Muharrom E. (2016): Framing national REDD+ benefits, monitoring, governance and finance: A comparative analysis of seven countries. Global Environmental Change 39: 57-68.
  16. European Commission (2016)  Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry into the 2030 climate and energy framework and amending Regulation No 525/2013 of the European Parliament and the Council on a mechanism for monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and other information relevant to climate change COM(2016) 479 final (document and annex)






The course is intensive teaching in Umeå between  for the class is between 11 Sept - 15 Sept, with pre-lecutre as well as post-lecture assignments.

Deadline for application: June 28, 2017.

Folder about the course.