«Dissertations Forestales 149 Forest law compliance in the High-Forest Zone of Ghana: an analysis of forest farmers’ livelihoods, their forest ...»
Concerning the influence of legitimacy on compliance behaviour, although this factor appeared to be relevant for compliance with forest legislation in general terms (i.e., when the legitimacy of the decision-making process or the behaviour of authorities was questioned), its relevance in terms of compliance with the specific forest rules was negligible (Article III). This latter finding contrasts with the majority of the reviewed compliance literature, which identifies legitimacy among the key factors in compliance (Tyler 1990, Kuperan and Sutinen 1999, Nielsen and Mathiesen 2003, Viteri and Chávez 2007). This inconsistency in results is likely associated with the challenge of properly addressing legitimacy in the empirical part of this study. The study does not directly address the legitimacy of authorities in Ghana—in practice, the Forestry Commission—or the impact of this legitimacy on compliance. Further research is required to examine the influence of legitimacy on compliance in further detail. In particular, the general acceptance of the authorities and perceptions about their rights to impose and implement forest rules should be addressed.
Facilitating further research on forest law compliance The framework outlined in Article IV proposes that compliance occurs at multiple levels, including the individual level and higher societal levels (e.g., group, community, and state) comprising the context in which compliance decisions are made (Article IV). Motivations at the individual level (i.e., instrumental factors, norms and legitimacy) are derived from behavioural models grounded in theories of human behaviour, whereas contextual variables (e.g., market, corruption, and poverty) are derived from studies on compliance in the forestry sector. The linkage between these two trajectories is offered in the ‘institutions-asrationalities’ approach (Vatn 2005, 2009). This approach proposes that context acts as a catalyst (or inhibitor) for individual motivations. More specifically, changes in contextual variables are expected to affect specific individual motivations for compliance and their relative influence on the eventual compliance behaviour. For instance, a context-specific variable such as corruption is likely to influence the likelihood and fear of sanction if it is realised that sanction can be avoided by making informal payments to law-enforcement agencies.
The primary strength of this framework is that it outlines a theoretical framework for analysing the sources and motivations of rule compliance in forestry. The framework also allows the researcher to build assumptions and hypotheses related to the set of proposed variables, their mutual interactions, and finally their relative strengths in influencing compliance behaviour. Next, to facilitate further theoretical and analytical developments, a number of testable assumptions implied by the analytical framework (Article IV) are presented. First, assuming that individual motivations for compliance (e.g., social norms, benefits, and fear of sanction) change with changes in contextual variables (corruption, market price), it is important to examine how specific contextual variables affect each of the individual motivations. To characterise the effect of context, scholars may compare different regions or states that vary in terms of their socio-economic, political and legal environments. Second, to understand the influence of specific individual motivations (e.g., norms, benefits, and fear of sanction) on compliance behaviour, further studies could test whether the influence of a particular motivation varies among different forest user groups (e.g., the forest industry vs. forest communities). It is likely that some groups of forest users will be more motivated by sanctions and others by reciprocity, or the fairness of rules. The level to which compliance factors sensitise different forest users will depend, among other considerations, on the main use objectives and time horizons of the forest users with regards to the forest (e.g., short term profit-making vs. the long-term sustainable use of forest resources). For this purpose, studies that investigate individual-level behaviour under different static external contextual variables are suggested. A third assumption concerns the influence of social norms in general. For instance, it has been suggested that social norms will play a more significant role in settings where the groups of forest users are small and the level of mutual trust within the groups is high. Thus, smaller groups of forest users that have a history of collaboration and a high level of trust will rely more strongly on normative than instrumental factors of compliance (Ostrom 1990). Finally, another assumption that requires further testing involves the role of legitimacy in compliance behaviour. Specifically, it is important to address whether legitimacy forms a part of individual motivations or whether it is only responsible for influencing other normative motivations, such as the norms of fairness or reciprocity. Whereas the framework and the vast majority of the literature propose a direct relationship between legitimacy and compliance, it seems equally plausible that legitimacy variables only provide a context that activates normative motivations (e.g., the norm of fairness). Although this suggestion is a mere conjecture at this point, it demonstrates how the framework could be used to generate testable hypotheses.
6.2 Policy implications
This research suggests a need to design policy and legal mechanisms that present an alternative to the command-and-control forest regulations, which are often based on the strict enforcement of existing legal requirements. The major policy implications of the current research are summarised as follows: first, flawed, inconsistent and unfair forest regulations in and of themselves may encourage non-compliance; i.e., the stricter enforcement of such regulations is not likely to strengthen compliance or the sustainable use of forest resources. Second, more effective forest policy and legal outcomes require a broader and more flexible approach to legality and compliance, in order to untangle the leading sources of non-compliance. Third, widening and empowering the range of actors involved in policy-making and implementation is likely to encourage compliance with forest rules. Finally, the implementation of forest law enforcement initiatives such as the EU FLEGT VPA should reflect local and domestic forestry issues, including the forest resources on farmlands, forest communities and farmers’ rights to trees and forest. Next, each of these implications is elaborated in further detail.
Concerning the implication that flawed rules encourage non-compliance, as discussed in Article IV, the forest regulations in many countries with high rates of illegal forest activities are found to be flawed, inconsistent and perceived as unfair by local forest users (Contreras-Hermosilla 2002, Blaser 2010). Such laws inherently impose barriers to legality (Contreras-Hermosilla 2003, Richards et al. 2003, Palo and Lehti 2012), which paradoxically leads to an increase in the banned activity (e.g., the chainsaw ban in Ghana;
Marfo et al. 2009), or to resistance and the intentional violation of such rules (Peluso 1992, Amanor 1996, Abane 2009). The current study demonstrates this paradox by documenting a higher level of non-compliance with a rule that is perceived as ultimately unfair (treefelling rule) and inconsistent with farmers’ values, norms and practices in comparison with a higher compliance with rules that are perceived as fair (Article III). The strengthened enforcement (surveillance, monitoring and sanctions) of inadequate rules will not, in and of itself, result in positive outcomes. On the contrary, some of the most rigorous and poorly suited forest regulations are found in the countries with the highest rates of illegal forest activities (Cashore and McDermott 2004, Tacconi 2007, Palo and Lehti 2012). The ability of laws to influence behaviour will depend less on the sanctions and punishments associated with non-compliance and more on their properties, particularly their ability to promote the fairness of rules and to encourage positive practices and behaviour.
Regarding the second implication, the need for a broader approach to legality and compliance, it is noted that currently, the international forest policy debate on illegal forest activities is limited to illegal logging. Laws and compliance are understood only in the context of state laws. This model of compliance is transferred into legal plurality environments with parallel and overlapping rules and forest governance institutions. The international response to illegal logging (Humphreys 2006, Ogle 2008) is largely based on the following policy assumptions: (i) illegal logging is a universally wrong and harmful activity and (ii) forest law enforcement is one of the major strategies for addressing illegal forest activities. This policy focus has caused a significant imbalance in policy research, where an elevated attention has been put on (i) the negative impacts and extent of illegal logging and (ii) the role of instrumental motivations (profit, sanction, monitoring) on compliance (Figure 5). This imbalance in research further feeds back into policy implementation through the science-policy interactions and policy advice, providing, at best, incomplete information and weak strategies for action. As a result, the policy debate on forest illegalities remains narrow and poorly informed. The major current challenge concerns the lack of dialogue between theories and forest policy design and implementation, which leads to incomplete models of human behaviour and a poor understanding of the major reasons for and factors in non-compliance with forest laws. To facilitate effective policy and legal designs and outcomes, there is a need for a more flexible and open approach with regards to the concepts of illegality and compliance in both research and policy. Relevant questions, among others, include the following: why illegal forest activities occur, at both individual and societal levels; what constitutes rules and laws; what are the origins of the existing rules; what is the role of the legitimacy of authorities in pursuing compliance with rules. To help facilitate a more systematic approach to untangling these questions, the study proposes looking ‘outside of the box’—at the myriad of existing empirical research on compliance in other fields, such as fisheries (see, in particular, the referred studies of Jon J. Suttinen, Stig S. Gezelius and Jasper R. Nielsen).
In addition, the application of theoretically driven, multidisciplinary research and science is proposed, which is well-equipped with conceptual and theoretical frameworks and models to help understand the driving sources of non-compliance and rule violations at different levels (see, in particular, Article IV).
Figure 5. Science-policy interactions in the field of illegal logging.
policy The third policy implication concerns the devolution of voices and powers in the decision-making process. The range of actors who are involved and affected by illegal making forest activities is broad, including large international timber companies, small small-scale loggers, and forest communities that are dependent on the forest for subsistence. Involving oggers, and empowering local forest users in decision decision-making processes and ensuring that enacted laws enhance their stakes and rights—although easier said than done although done—will make enforcement and compliance significantly easier. Although cooperation and participation require substantial initial costs and political will, it is expected that the cooperation, communication and involvement of local users will enhance the perceived fai fairness of rules, the legitimacy of authorities, and ultimately the enforcement of and compliance with rules (Tyler 1990, Nielsen 2003, Viteri and Chavez 2007). As Gregersen and Contreras (2010) argue, the motivations of local communities and forest users ca easily be stimulated if can laws provide appropriate incentives. An open and transparent decision decision-making process and legally backed rights to the forest were identified as important factors in farmers’ compliance in this study (Table 2/Article III). Concerni Concerning farming communities in particular, a viable option to explore is strengthening farmers’ use, management and ownership rights over the timber trees on their farms. Various studies have identified a number of loopholes in the current forest policy, which vests the timber trees with the state (GoG 1962) and which acts in favour of large operators (Hansen 2011, Hansen and Lund 2011). The policy effectively denies farmers the right to benefit from timber trees that they have nurtured and managed on their farms. As a result, farmers perceive the regulation s.
concerning the tenure and use of the trees on their farms to be discriminative and unfair and consequently resist it (Amanor 1996, Abane 2009). This study finds the faultiness of the current legal framework regulating forest tenure and management rights to be one of the egulating primary causes of farmers’ non-compliance with the tree compliance tree-felling rule. Consequently, the revision of forest regulation in favour of farmers’ rights to on on-farm trees is suggested.