3 stycznia 2024

Seminar 09.01.2024 / Hands off the forests! Advocacy coalitions, epistemic communities and the Implementation of the New EU Forest Strategy 2030 into the Polish forest policy / Krzysztof Niedziałkowski

3 stycznia 2024 | Karolina Dziubata

You are cordially invited to a scientific seminar Hands off the forests! Advocacy coalitions, epistemic communities and the Implementation of the New EU Forest Strategy 2030 into the Polish forest policy with dr. hab. Krzysztof Niedziałkowski. The seminar starts at 09:30, January 9th, room 2.122.

The New EU Forest Strategy 2030 is a part of the European Green Deal and introduced ambitious goals related to the role of forests in climate change mitigation and biodiversity protection that for some EU member states might seem overly ambitious, particularly concerning that forest policy is not a prerogative of the EU institutions. In Poland, the new strategy raised serious concern among the key actors within forest policy – particularly the public forest agency the State Forests Enterprise that commissioned a few studies highlighting negative consequences of the implementation of the EUFS on domestic wood market and forest sustainability. In this paper we look at factors that influence the prospects of implementation of EUFS in Poland focusing on the main groups of actors in the Polish forest policy subsystem. For this purpose we employ the Advocacy Coalition Framework. Based on the review of Polish scientific literature concerning mitigation and adaptation of forest management to climate change, desk research and semi-structured interviews with representatives of various groups we identify the existing advocacy coalitions and explore their beliefs concerning the proper response to the climate change as well as their attitude towards the adaptation and mitigation measures put forward by the EUFS. Our results suggest that Polish forest subsystem includes two advocacy coalitions: the dominant coalition of foresters, forest scientists, government officials, representatives of the timber industry, and private forest owners; and the challenging coalition of NGOs and biologists sometimes supported also by DG Environment. The coalitions have diverging perspectives regarding the EUFS with the dominant coalition opposing key measures of the strategy and the challenging one supporting its implementation. The most controversial measure we identify concerns designation of 10% of country’s territory as strictly protected. This measure is not in line with the adaptation and mitigation measures put forward by the epistemic community of forest scientists and is seen by the dominant actors as giving in to the traditionally opposing advocacy coalition centred on nature conservation. Our results suggest also that while the conservative position of the dominant actors towards new policy proposal might have been expected, the political changes of recent months, particularly general elections, have created an external shock to the policy subsystem that opens a window of opportunity for major institutional changes.

Krzysztof Niedziałkowski – Associate Professor at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, a board member of the Climate Crisis Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and a vice-chair of the Environmental Sociology Section of the Polish Sociological Society. His research interests include the dynamics of environmental policies, the determinants of environmental conflicts, and the relationships between discourses and institutions regulating the management of natural resources. His work has been published in journals such as Ecology and Society, Ecological Economics, and Environmental Politics. His latest project, conducted as part of the international ForestValue consortium, examines the impact of climate change on forest management.