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State forest management reforms in three ex-Soviet republics

reforms, reasons and differences

Nordberg, Mats (2007). State forest management reforms in three ex-Soviet republics. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Uppsala : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2007:67
ISBN 91-576-7366-4
[Doctoral thesis]

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In the context of the radical changes that East European countries have recently gone through, it is of general interest to study what institutional and organisational setups for forest management were selected in the individual countries, and why. The purpose of this thesis is to examine what reforms took place in the State forest management of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and Latvia during their first decade of independence and the underlying reasons for these reforms. In order to analyse the underlying reasons for reforms, a number of explanatory models were formulated, mostly based on Public Choice theory and theories on institutional development. By testing these models - Interest Group Struggles, Political Necessity, Historical Experience, Path Dependency and Influence of Clientelism and Black Economy, on the forest sector reforms, the applicability of each model on each reform was evaluated. This way the most likely motives for the reforms could be described. The three countries of the study were selected because of observed divergence in forest sector reforms during the first decade of transition. The results show that all the explanatory models can be used to explain the reform process, but on individual reforms, one or two models usually lead to a more likely explanation of the process observed. Looking on individual models and beginning with Russia, some key reforms in the forest sector were initiated because they were part of the Government's general reform agenda. Such reforms, when they led to reforms in the forest sector, have here been labelled Political Necessities, implying that the major decisions generated outside of the sector. The main such reforms in Russia, originated from the decision to privatise forest industry but to keep forest State-owned. Most of the other reforms of the period were consequences of this general decision but additional understanding of them was shown to be provided by using the other models of the study. Interest group struggles, particularly between forest management and forest industry organisations, but also between different levels of Government, were intensive during the studied period, and many of the reforms studied were resulting compromises. The analyses demonstrate that the most fundamental Russian forest sector reforms during the studied period were mostly formed already in the end of the Soviet period or in the very first years of the Russian Federation. It can be questioned whether this was not premature. In Ukraine, the reform process in society as a whole slowed down considerably after only few years of independence and in many sectors, the transition to market economy was not complete. One can argue that the Ukraine State Forest Committee as an organisation was an example of this, given that it continued to control the majority of Ukraine’s forests, enjoyed a close-to monopoly on final fellings and came to control a large part of Ukraine’s forest industry. The processes that led to this situation were strongly influenced by Interest Group Struggles and Path Dependency. As for Latvia, most striking is the breech with the Soviet-era institutional set-up and thus also with Path Dependency. In a first phase of reform in 1990-1995, several similarities between Latvian and Russian reforms can be found, although the Latvian reforms went further as a result of massive forest restitution. In a second phase however, Latvia created a new institutional and organisational setup, more similar to the Scandinavian countries. The models that best explain Latvian forest sector reform are Political Necessity and Historic Experience, the latter because Latvian institutions from the period before World War II were frequently used as models for reform. By the end of the studied period, the main forest institutions and organisations demonstrated practically no resemblance to what had existed prior to 1990. In this respect, Latvia differed very clearly from Russia and Ukraine. The differences between Latvia as compared to Ukraine and Russia have many explanations, as demonstrated by application of the different models on the individual reforms. On a larger scale however, the differences appear tied to whether reforms emanated from within or outside the State forest management and State forest industry organisations. Latvian Government decisions in 1988-91 on land restitution to pre-war owners and its 1995 Concept of Public Administration Reform, strongly influenced reforms in the forest sector. Further, Latvian openness to international support in policy and institutional development, and the fact that a young generation took over leadership roles in the sector, were also important factors. Also, after 1997, views of other interested parties were systematically integrated in the Latvian reform process. In neither Russia nor Ukraine did forest privatisation take place. Forest policy, legislation and State forest management questions were during most of the studied period largely determined by the State forest management organisation, but under steady criticism from adjacent interests. This atmosphere fostered a marked conservatism. Such fundamental changes that many transition countries' forest sectors went through during the past two decades are highly unusual events, and it is important that the experiences are collected while still in the active memory of the people that participated. This kind of studies can be of help in future analyses of other countries' forest sectors. Particularly, it is the hope of the author that experience from the East European transition period reforms will be utilised in planning future forest sector reforms in other countries, notably in Western Europe.

Authors/Creators:Nordberg, Mats
Title:State forest management reforms in three ex-Soviet republics
Subtitle:reforms, reasons and differences
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
Year of publishing :2007
Number of Pages:51
ALLI. Nordberg, M. 2007. Ukraine reforms in forestry 1990-2000. Forest Policy and Economics, vol. 9, issue 6, 713-729 II. Nordberg, M. 2007. Russian reforms in forestry 1990-2000. Manuscript submitted to Forest Policy and Economics. III. Nordberg, M. and Elowson T., 2007. Latvian reforms in forestry 1990-2000. To be published.
Place of Publication:Uppsala
ISBN for printed version:91-576-7366-4
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agrovoc terms:forest management, forest land, public ownership, decision making, forestry policies, russian federation, ukraine, latvia
Keywords:Latvia, Russian Federation, Ukraine, forest management, forest policy, reforms, institutions
Permanent URL:
ID Code:1458
Department:(S) > Dept. of Forest Products (until 180101)
Deposited By: mats nordberg
Deposited On:11 May 2007 00:00
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 10:12

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