Policy tools to address scale mismatches: insights from U.S. forest governance

TitlePolicy tools to address scale mismatches: insights from U.S. forest governance
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsSchultz, CA
Secondary AuthorsTimberlake, TJ
Tertiary AuthorsWurtzebach, Z
Subsidiary AuthorsMcIntyre, KB, Moseley, C, Huber-Stearns, HR
JournalEcology and Society
Start Page21
Keywordsadaptive governance, collaborative governance, forest management, monitoring, policy design, Scale mismatch, technical reports and journal articles

Recent literature has highlighted the growing array of scale mismatches in environmental governance and offered policy design principles for improved governance approaches. A next step is to develop our understanding of specific policy tools that can address scale mismatches. This paper reviews the range and importance of scale-related challenges and solutions in environmental governance, situating this discussion in the context of forest governance. We then tackle the matter of policy tools to address scale mismatches, by synthesizing findings from recent policy research on two contemporarily important issues in forest governance, collaborative landscape restoration and multilevel monitoring for ecological integrity, each of which presents distinct challenges related to scale matching and coordination. The research suggests that policy innovations are supporting greater scale sensitivity, through specific legal mandates that require scale considerations and promotion of partnerships and networks. Successful strategies balance requirements to work across scales and levels, with flexibility to tailor approaches to local contexts; our work demonstrates how policy tools can facilitate this in particular contexts. Future research should seek to understand the trade-offs of working at particular scales and continue to explore examples of how design principles for adaptive governance manifest in policy and practice across different contexts.