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Publication Information

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Title: Governmental Forest Policy for Sustainable Forest Management in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Nicaragua: Regulation, Implementation, and Impact

Author: McGinley, Kathleen A.; Cubbage, Frederick W.;

Date: 2012

Source: Journal of Sustainable Forestry

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: We evaluated how governmental forest regulation in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Nicaragua has succeeded or failed in fostering changes in forest owner and user behavior that enhance the sustainability of tropical forest management. As expected, sufficient resources and capacity for forest policy implementation are crucial for attaining governmental forest policy objectives, but innovative arrangements for promoting, enforcing, and verifying policy compliance can compensate for limited regulatory resources and processes. The findings also indicate that: the level of governmental commitment to sustainable forest management (SFM) was as important as total funding levels; a mix of government rules and incentives enhanced adoption of SFM; the incorporation of professional forest regents offset limited agency capacity; and forest certification enhanced SFM on forest concessions. This article was presented at the Yale Student Chapter of the International Society of Tropical Foresters’ (ISTF) 14th annual conference, entitled “Conflict and Cooperation: Tools for Governing Tropical Forests.” March 2009. The authors thank the innumerable professionals, technical personnel, community members, landowners, government organizations, and nongovernment organizations in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Nicaragua who provided interviews and documents for the study and helped in performing field research. Toddi Steelman, Robert Abt, Elizabeth Ann O’Sullivan, Richard Kearney, and Erin Sills provided valuable direction and feedback on research plans and interpretation, as did two anonymous journal reviewers on this manuscript. Local level inducements and constraints that enhance or impede governmental forest policy adoption and compliance also were identified.

Keywords: Costa Rica, forest policy, forest regulation, Guatemala, Nicaragua, sustainable forest management, tropical forests

Publication Notes:

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McGinley, Kathleen A.; Cubbage, Frederick W. 2012. Governmental Forest Policy for Sustainable Forest Management in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Nicaragua: Regulation, Implementation, and Impact. Journal of Sustainable Forestry, Vol. 31(4-5): 21 pages.: 355-375.


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