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Resisting Sustainable Forest Management in the Asia-Pacific: Lessons from the Forest Stewardship Council Experience

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Gale, F (2006) Resisting Sustainable Forest Management in the Asia-Pacific: Lessons from the Forest Stewardship Council Experience. In: Second Oceanic Conference on International Studies, 5-7 July 2006, Melbourne, Australia. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Of all the developing regions of the world, the Asia-Pacific is growing fastest, driven by its own unique 'Asian' model of development as practiced by Japan and imitated by the first and second-tier Newly Industrializing Countries (NICs). This record of phenomenal economic development sits side-by-side, however, with mounting evidence of serious regional environmental problems linked to air, water and soil pollution, fisheries depletion and deforestation and forest degradation with significant loss of biodiversity. While numerous sectors and cases could be chosen to illustrate the political economic barriers to sustainability in the Asia-Pacific, this paper focuses on forestry and the efforts by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to establish certification in the region. The FSC constitutes an interesting case because of its recognised commitment to meaningful sustainable forest management via the integration of economic, environmental and social dimensions into a single, rigorous forest management standard (Fern, 2004).In this article, I investigate the political economy of sustainable development by synthesising the results of recent case studies of forest certification from Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Solomon Islands. Business and government in these countries have either ignored FSC or mobilised actively against it. FSC has been not been perceived by these parties as a vehicle for sustainable development but as a threat to business-as-usual. However, the problem is only partially located in producing countries. In consuming countries, too (Japan, Korea, China), FSC certification has been largely ignored as business there competes for low-cost forest products regardless of its legality and sustainability. These countries appear indifferent to the ecological shadow cast by their economic development strategies, highlighting once again the divergence between the rhetoric and reality of sustainable development.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords: forest certification stewardship asia pacific
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2006
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:12
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/531
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