Sustainable Forest Management and Social-Ecological Systems: An Institutional Analysis of Caatinga, Brazil

Joana Mattei Faggin*, J.H. Behagel, B.J.M. Arts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) has globally gained support as a strategy to use and manage forest resources while maintaining forest ecosystem services. However, type, relevance, and utilisation of forest ecosystem services vary across eco-regions, countries, and policy implementation pathways. As such, the concept of SFM is subject to a series of translations within the social-ecological context in which it is implemented. This article discusses translations of SFM in Caatinga biome—a tropical dry forest in the north-eastern semi-arid region of Brazil. Our analysis is based on a qualitative analysis of 24 semi-structured interviews and 30 documents. We discuss SFM and the interplay of resources, governance, and actors. Results for Caatinga show that (1) a technical approach to SFM that focuses on firewood and charcoal production is dominant; that (2) SFM implementation practices hardly address the needs and interests of local populations; and that (3) local actors show little support for the implementation of SFM. We conclude that the social-ecological context of Caatinga shapes translations of SFM mostly in a techno-bureaucratic rather than a socially embedded way. As a result, local practices of forest use are excluded from the regional SFM approach, which negatively affects its implementation
Original languageEnglish
Article number454
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2017


  • Brazil
  • Caatinga biome
  • Critical Institutionalism
  • Institutional translations
  • SFM


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