Narrating Illegal Logging Across the Globe: Between Green Protectionism and Sustainable Resource Use

Georg Winkel, Sina Leipold, Karin Buhmann, Ben Cashore, Wil de Jong, Iben Nathan, Metodi Sotirov, Michael Stone

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In the last decade illegal logging has triggered the attention of policy makers and scholars of international forest governance. The issue is multifaceted, involving aspects of social and environmental sustainability, development, trade, access to markets and competitiveness. A vivid academic debate has resulted, exploring the nexus between markets and trade on one hand, and environmental and social sustainability on the other. The purpose of this paper is systematically assess the international policy discourse on illegal logging and legality verification policies in different regions of the world, drawing on the concept of policy narratives. Specifically, we analyse and compare policy narratives in Australia, Cambodia, China, the EU, Indonesia, Peru and the US. Our analysis is grounded on a rich empirical basis consisting of 260 interviews conducted by various researchers, numerous conversations with practitioners, policy documents and a media analysis. We find striking differences across the globe in narratives about illegal logging and legality verification and conclude that these need to be considered when assessing the support for, and the current and potential effects of, the emerging legality verification regime.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Forestry Review
Issue numberSupplement 1
Pages (from-to)81-97
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • Global forest governance
  • Legality verification
  • Narratives
  • Illegal logging
  • Forest policy

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