5. What follows decision-making?

5.1 Implementation

Governments and parliaments take decisions about new policies and new strategies for forestry. The process that follows may take different shapes, depending on the circumstances. The following is a typical list of the stages to go through:
  • Legislation. Usually a new policy makes it necessary to pass a new law. The law needs to be accompanied by regulations that specify its exact implications, in quantitative and measurable terms.
  • Revision of organisational and administrative structures. A new policy may require existing structures to be adjusted, or new ones created, for example to lay the ground for substantially increased extension services.
  • Financial arrangements. A new forest policy may have far reaching consequences for funding, subsidies, fees and taxation, which in turn may imply the need for further legislation and new budget arrangements.
  • Getting the message out. To convey the necessary messages to all concerned may require a strenuous information campaign.
Many examples can be found in which good forest policies and strategies were developed, but little happened on the ground. In any case, implementation takes time, and nothing will happen unless action is firm and well planned.

The Swedish ¿Richer Forest¿ campaign (National Board of Forestry 1990) shows how long time a policy drive can take. Preparations, including the education of forestry personnel in forest ecology and the preservation of flora and fauna, took about five years, and the campaign itself took about another five. As a consequence of all the education efforts the demand for a deeper knowledge of forest ecology has greatly increased. All the personnel of the National Forest Organisation have undergone an intensive ten-day course in forest ecology and biological diversity preservation, and 150 people have attended specific university courses in order to respond better to future requirements.

5.2 Monitoring

Once new policies and strategies have been implemented their impact must be monitored. Are the policies successful? What are the problems encountered? How do the forests develop? As a rule developments will differ more or less from what has been intended.

Much monitoring information can be collected by an NFA. However, this must usually be complemented by special studies on aspects such as the success of plantations, biological diversity, zoning for recreation and influence on local people.

Results from the monitoring (and independent) studies will lead to a public, scientific and political debate. In due time this will lead to requests for changes in the policy or part of the policy. The whole process will have to start on new cycle (or rather continue).