Forests, from complex ecosystems to monoculture plantations, are in high demand. They have a growing array of stakeholders including local communities and multinational organizations that have varying degrees of power and often, conflicting agendas. Good forest management is essential to supporting and balancing stakeholders’ needs while protecting the sustainability of forests and their goods and services. It involves consideration of how decisions are made, who is responsible, how authority is exercised and what accountability processes are in place.
Forest management is complex and prone to conflicting agendas. It is multilevel; decisions are made by local, regional, national and international institutions, yet policies and practices at one level may not integrate with policies and practices at another. With the forestry sector becoming increasingly globalized and, at the same time, moving towards decentralized management systems, pressures on decision-makers and forest managers are being felt from both global and local voices. Our research aims to understand how forest management navigates these dynamics over space and time, and to strengthen management systems to support equity, transparency, accountability and social justice.