Analysis of French forest policy in the context of ecosystem services: From the national to the regional level

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Ecosystem service research has been steadily growing and has gone beyond the scope of conceptual understanding and methodological approaches. Overall, less research has been devoted to how and to what degree the ecosystems service concept has been adopted in policy-making. This study analyses how forests and forest ecosystem services are framed in official French documents. A frame analysis was carried out on 26 documents (related to forest, biodiversity, energy, bioeconomy and climate policies) using ATLAS.ti software. The analysis was conducted at the national and regional levels (Grand Est region) in order to compare potential framing differences. It was supplemented with qualitative expert interviews to cross-validate frames and to investigate the relative importance given to each frame by key stakeholders at the regional and national levels. The analysis resulted in the reconstruction of 12 frames. The two most important frames at the national level are ‘Forests as providers of wood and material’ and ‘Forests as a means of mitigating climate change’. In the Grand Est region, the latter frame is less important than frames related to the role of forests with regard to the quality of human life and recreation. This may be explained by the fact that public ownership is predominant in the Grand Est region. While the multifunctionality of the forest is rarely mentioned in policy documents, interviews revealed that the multifunctionality of forests remains an important concept among policy-makers, even if it is not always explicitly mentioned and is losing ground to the ecosystem services concept.

Ambroise, L., Abildtrup, J., & Pülzl, H. (2022). Analysis of French forest policy in the context of ecosystem services: From the national to the regional level. Environmental Policy and Governance, 1– 11.