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The evolution of the World Bank's policy towards forestry: push or pull?

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The World Bank has historically funded, and thus heavily influenced, a significant amount of forestry activities in developing countries in recent decades. The Bank's approach towards investment in forestry has undergone major changes. Early projects financed industrial operations to the detriment of tropical native forests. In the early 1990s, the Bank's forestry strategy prioritized forest preservation. The Bank's strategy shifted again at the turn of the century, to focus on sustainable management and the role of forests in poverty alleviation. This paper examines the changes in policy direction undertaken by the Bank, in light of concurrent changes in international forest policy and the conservation community. The central question addressed is whether the Bank has led the way in bringing about change in the forestry paradigm, or were the different Bank strategies reactions to the policy environment and prevailing attitudes and pressures of the time?
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Keywords: World Bank; conservation; forestry; policy; sustainable forest management

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Forest Resources Management, Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia, Forest Sciences Centre, 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z4, Canada.

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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