The role of science in forest policy – experiences by EFI

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There has been increasing requests for evidence-based policy, especially in complex issues such as climate change, biodiversity and bioenergy questions. Scientists have also been active in this front, e.g., such as European Academies Science Advisory Council (2017, 2019) and by writing Open Letters (e.g., Beddington et al., 2017; De Wever et al., 2017; Berndes et al., 2018). However, at the same time, science expertise is contested. Populist “post-truth” politicians and social media warriors have questioned the legitimacy of science-based information. The issue is made also more complex due to the fact that there has been occasionally striking disparity between what the scientists' messages are. Moreover, there is an increasing amount of science information available. According to UNESCO (2015), almost 1.3 million scientific articles were published in 2014 alone. Clearly, the decision-maker needs scientists and science-based intermediary organizations that can synthesize the best science information in a format that is easily accessible, as IPCC is doing. But science-policy support work has its own challenges, e.g., it can be impacted by pressures that mix science-evidence with vested interests. In this article, we address the following questions: What should the role of science be in informing forest policy-making? Why do scientists seem to disagree on forest issues? What are the lessons learnt from the European Forest Institute's (EFI) science-policy work since 2015?

Full reference: Hetemäki, L. 2019. The role of science in forest policy–Experiences by EFI, Forest Policy and Economics
105: 10-16.

Read also the blog post on the topic.