Mariel Aguilar-Støen: Social forestry movements and science-policy networks: The politics of the forestry incentives program in Guatemala

In Geoforum, 2018.


Mariel Aguilar-Støen


In this article I discuss the factors contributing to the drafting and approval of the forestry incentives law (PINPEP) in Guatemala. This is a remarkable law because (a) it is among the few in the country recognizing property rights to land other than private property; (b) it has a stronger focus on subsidies and social benefits than on market mechanisms and; (c) the law is the result of the effort of forestry community organizations. My findings indicate that community organizations can, through their alliances with science-policy networks, participate in law-making and by that, in democratizing environmental governance. My study nuances the role of experts in environmental governance showing that their power and status should be understood as relational and historically contingent. Furthermore, some key and charismatic individuals can act as door openers to link community forestry organizations and science-policy networks. Although the identity of the grassroots organizations that participated in the process of making the law is tied to forestry, these organizations have a long history in the country. This history has been shaped by their experiences in exile and in refugee camps during the civil war as well as by their contact with development assistance organizations.


Environmental governance; Forestry; Political ecology; Payments for ecosystem services

Published Feb. 14, 2018 5:02 PM - Last modified Feb. 26, 2018 3:17 PM