Submit manuscript...
eISSN: 2577-8307

Forestry Research and Engineering: International Journal

Research Article Volume 4 Issue 1

Governance and decentralization of forest management in the construction of public policies: process applied to amapá and sergipe – Brazil

José das Dores de Sá Rocha,1 José de Arimatéa Silva,2 Julio Paupitz,3 Attapon Cheepsattayakorn,1 Ruangrong Cheepsattayakorn2

1Federal University of Rondonia, Brazil
110th Zonal Tuberculosis and Chest Disease Center, Thailand
2Emeritus at the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2Department of Pathology, Thailand
3Consultant, Rua Irmão Ruperto Feliz, Brazil

Correspondence: José das Dores de Sá Rocha, Federal University of Rondonia, Av. Curitiba, 5324, planalto, 76940-000, Rolim de Moura, Rondônia, Brazil

Received: January 10, 2020 | Published: February 28, 2020

Citation: Rocha JDDDS, Silva JDA, Paupitz J. Governance and decentralization of forest management in the construction of public policies: process applied to amapá and sergipe – Brazil. Forest Res Eng Int J. 2020;4(1):36-40. DOI: 10.15406/freij.2020.04.00097

Download PDF


Forest governance, now in vogue, has been touted by the debate on decentralization. In Brazil, these processes are in progress, coalescing and coming to constitute an important agenda of policy makers, social actors and the academy. This agenda is aimed at harmonizing quality improvement aspirations of living with the support capabilities of the different forest ecosystems. However, the mediation of social demands regarding conservation and use of forest resources is differently expressed and in conflicting hues in the three spheres of government, due to the decentralization of forest management process. Thus, this work presents a process applied in mediating such type of conflict via construction of forest policies in the states of Amapá and Sergipe, located in the Amazon and Semi-Arid Brazil, respectively. The method applied within the forest policy process integrates and complements theories, methods and techniques to articulate forest functions, state functions in forestry, forest policy fundamentals, social demands, and organizational management. The final construction allowed to adjust to the social demands of forest ecosystems carrying capacities and to align them with organizational management, to provide conditions of effectiveness for the implementation of decentralization and strengthening of forest governance.

Keywords: forest policy, forest planning, forest resources, amazônia, caatinga


By year 2000 Brazil redefined the management of forest resources, by transferring to the federal entities (states and the Federal District), Union prerrogatives. Although provided by the Constitution of 1988, decentralization has only initiated in 2006, with changes in the old Forest Code and has concluded by a Complementary Law on the grounds established in the Constitution-which authorizes the federal government, the states and the Federal District to legislate concurrently on forest resources.

The transfer of power to the federal states regarding to forest resources, is the result of a policy of decentralization, which according to Ribot,1 Agrawal and Ribot,2 has been carried out by developed countries in the 1980s, and became a prominent feature of forest management in the 1990s.

Literature reveals the concern with the implementation of the decentralization of governance systems and responsibility of local authorities in relation to ownership of forest resources, conservation and equity.3-6 The justification of decentralization was to increase the efficiency, equity, greater social participation and government accountability.7 In the case of natural resources, is not only the efficiency in the delivery of services that permeates the decentralization process; this enters the devolution of powers over the distribution of productive resources and to demand the resolution of conflicting interests between actors for the externalities of management do not fall disproportionately on certain groups, thus making the process very complex.8 It’s worth reminding the recent trend in many countries, the attempt to promote the decentralization of forest management with participation of local communities.9

Decentralization is centered on a set of legal, organizational and operational elements, among others, which now constitute the role of institutions, organizations and society.

The process of decentralization of forest management in Brazil resented proper planning of both the Union and at states for the transfer of powers. Planning this should explain a design policy and capacity of states to receive new assignments for the development, conservation and use of forests.

In response to the demands of states to implement forest management, this study outlines a methodological arrangement applied to the development of forest policies and construction of Forestry Programs of the States of Amapá and Sergipe, located in the Amazon and Caatinga biomes, respectively.

The methodology is designed to contribute to the implementation of the decentralization of forest management process, and to incorporate citizen participation in decision making regarding politicy and administration, seeking to consolidate the process itself and to minimize costs and negative externalities that might arise.

Method and materials

The methodology is structured by connecting the relationship between forest resources and human well-being and the state administration. The study focuses on the relationship between social demands and the government for the establishment of possible courses of action concerning the use and protection of forest resources. The construction process of the State Programs was developed to embrace the following elements: a) forest policy process; b) the functions of forests; c) the state functions; d) the fundamentals of forest policy; e) social demands; f) forest public policy, and; g) organizational management of the institution responsible for enforce forest policy.

The nature of the study, policy and forest management permeates the state elements and the dialectic of social life. For these characteristics, a single method becomes inapplicable, thus requiring the integration of methods to achieve the purpose of the research, which is a social reality in constant creation and modification. To account for the permanent social, Dallari,10 shows that the integration methods must be orchestrated according to the perspective in focus. For the author, according to the purpose, there is a more suitable method, which may occur in a general law, extracted by induction.

The study is a result of the above-mentioned integration methods, represented schematically in Figure 1, which covers a macro level forest policy process, and secondly penetrates the plane state elements.

Figure 1 Schematic structure methodological script.

Forest policy process

The forest policy process is understood as the relationship between the formally established political power and society; in other words, it is the relationship between society's demands concerning the forest theme and the capacity of state institutions to efficiently and effectively meet these demands as well as the relations as a whole.

Established the consensus of the state-society relationship, ie, the response of the state to society, will become the content of the forest public policy, as such it enters in the course of action of strict forest policy process. According to Merlo & Paveri,11 forest public policy process includes the analysis of the problems, setting objectives and targets and possible courses of action, tools, implementation, supervision of the results, evaluation and policy review. The forest public policy process requires the understanding of the principles and elements, which are interrelated and constitute the content of the process. These principles emerged from the integration of state functions in the forest area with the fundamentals of forest public policy, which together give accent to social demands on use and protection of forest resources. This integration provides evidence to establish the link between state and society, giving support, structuring and systematizing the forest policy (Figure 2).

Figure 2 Forest political process.

Therefore, the state functions in forestry-based on the functions of forests-and the fundamentals of forest public policy provide the foundation and at the same time, integrate the political process in the formation, development, implementation, execution, monitoring, evaluation and revision of forest public policy. The political and forestry process builds upon the joints between the axes mentioned and flows (Figure 1) (Figure 2), representing the formulation stages, implementation and enforcement of forest policy. Politics has its genesis in general, in the general framework of state policy emerged from the people-both in the federal and state level either-or is realized based on the organizational management of the institutions responsible for this area.

Functions of forests

The forest cover plays a vital function the maintenance of human life, flora and fauna on Earth. The main functions, accepted by the signatory countries of the United Nations, highlighted in Fra 2010 are: conservation of biological diversity, soil and water protection, production, social and recreational, multi-purpose and primary.12 Fao indicates that forests fulfill four main roles in climate change: i) carbon emissions, arising from the destruction or degradation of forests, participating with about one-sixth of global emissions; ii) have sensitive reactions to climate change; iii) produce woodfuels as an alternative to fossil fuels, when sustainably managed, and; iv) potential to absorb a tenth of global carbon emissions planned for the first half of the century.

Biodiversity conservation includes maintaining the natural habitat and biodiversity. The management of forest protection, to maintain the functioning of ecological processes are essential to the perpetuation of flora and fauna habitat.13 To meet the purposes of this study the functions of forests are organized into three categories: i) conservation and protection; ii) Production and economical, and; iii) Social and cultural. 

Functions of the state in forestry

The roots of the contemporary state descended from Roman law and canon law. Under this alliance capitalism found seat and rose first in the Western world.14 The state power can emanate from the fact that certain tasks, whatever they may be, can be met in universalistic basis, with costs provided by members of the society and state services defined by society, such as infrastructure, protection and environment. States can extract powers of the values ​​that influence individuals to recognize their authority, legitimacy etc., as values ​​that make people perform actions based on state decisions in the absence of physical coercion. There is acceptance that the State should pursue the common good, but only physical strength is able to ensure that it is endogenously and exogenously effective cohesive in the face of conflicting interests.

In the case of State functions in forest theme, Rocha and Silva,15 show that the power of the state to coordinate the use and protection of forest resources stems from its power and ratified political legitimacy in its Charter Policy and other legal statutes, as well as the rules and socially accepted customs.

For this study, we adopted as State functions Silva,16 of reference, appointing six typical functions of state in forestry:

  1. Make the macro planning of protection and utilization of forest resources;
  2. Manage public forests;
  3. Provide technical assistance and forestry extension;
  4. Promote the development of forestry;
  5. Perform forest research;
  6. Monitor, control and monitor forest cover of private owners.
  7. These functions are justified as their role to exercise the common good, given the state needs to guide their actions in the pursuit of efficiency and effectiveness, given the social demands and the fight against inequality.

Forest public policy grounds

The fundamentals of forest public policy are focused on legal instruments, administrative, economic and technical basis. This set is the instrumental structure in the process of systematization of the demands of society, turning them into content of forest public policy. This policy is incorporated to the state and non-state structures existing or new that may arise in the course of the political process, to meet social demands (Figure 3).

Figure 3 Fundamentals of forest policy.

The tools of forestry policy are the foundations for planning and consolidation of the principles governing the formation, formulation and implementation of policy to achieve its ends, defined jointly between the whole of society and state power, reflecting the feelings of the nation. The legal instruments are made by the regulatory apparatus that comprises the constitution, constitutional amendments, supplementary laws, special laws (codes), ordinary laws, decrees, resolutions, rules and instructions, orders and work orders issued by the political institutions, parliaments, executive and administrative institutions. These instruments, in turn, regulate social behavior, as principles of reciprocity between citizens and guide the development of public policies to meet the social aspirations.

Administrative tools in turn relate to all the institutions, acts and regulations, information systems, and other institutional mechanisms for achieving forest policy. As for the economic instruments of forest public policy is understood as those that participate in the processes affecting the costs and benefits attributable to course of action in forest policy. Imply the profitability of technological processes, the relative price of a product or forestry, interfere in the decisions of forest producers and consumers. The efficiency and effectiveness of economic instruments are connected directly to the efficiency of the regulatory institutional structure and efficiency in the functioning of markets.

The technical basis is composed of elements of the strategic foundation for economic and social development of a country which are made by science and technology, both supported the research. With regard to the enjoyment of goods and services of forests, research needs to integrate fauna studies, flora, soil, water, anthropology, climate, and components of production chains in order to support the management of forest resources, meeting the demands social.

The technical basis regarding research, science and technology generated by educational and research institutions, coordinated by institutional government policy, in addition to pictures of human resources and to them for infrastructure.

Economic, administrative instruments and technical basis come from legal foundations. The establishment of an economic instrument, such as the creation of a line of credit is a legal act, assignment of state power. Likewise, is an action or administrative act, as is the technical basis in order that teaching and public research institutions are comprised of legal acts, as well as the disciplines of vocational education.

The state functions in forestry, embodied in the reading process of the historical dynamics of the state and its functions in society, aimed at providing the State and society, and support elements for driving the consensus of the various conflicts-within the social possibilities-relating the forest theme, oriented to the common good. Despite the pleas of the forest public policy be constituted as legal requirements, they come from design to design the consensus from the state-society relationship, ie the social demands, allowing structuring and systematizing the objectives set out in the policy.

State functions associated with the policy fundamentals constitute a framework of reception to social demands, thus consolidating the forest policy process. However, the use of this methodological theoretical guideline is conditional on the level of political and institutional development of state power, coated in the ideology of the dominant political groups and the demands of society. 

Social demands for forest policies

With the resumption of the Brazilian democratic process in 80, the 1988 Constitution ratification ensures the political participation of society in political decisions. This fact gives foundation to the debate on participation in public decision-making, participatory democracy wins echo in academic discourse, social and political movements.

In this regard, studies show that the revindication the use of social participation tools are now conveyed in textbooks of international cooperation agencies for development, internalized in state reform programs and decentralization policy and practice of local governments.17, 18

For Silva, Jaccoud and Beghin,19 with the advent of the 1988 Constitution social participation goes beyond state control, as well as influencing decisions of social policy and their implementation.

For the authors, the democratic process, social participation: i) promotes transparency in the deliberations and visibility in the actions, democratizing decision-making system; ii) allows for greater expression and visibility to social demands, causing a breakthrough in promoting equality and equity in public policies; and, iii) permeates through numerous movements and forms of association, state actions in defense and enlargement of rights, demand actions and is able to execute them in the public interest.

Social demands raised and organized in the light of the Fao theoretical framework,20 now constitute the contents of forest policy and thematic lines of the Programs. 

Organizational / institutional management 

The pattern of hierarchical public management gap between users and public officials carried out until the 1970s in Brazil, was also broken with the economic crisis of the state. Started in the 80s, a new theoretical framework and a cast of management tools, in a democratic context, sought to modify the state and make it more efficient and focused public administration for the citizen.21

The operation of public infrastructure undertaken by development policies promoted also the gap between users’ citizens and public officials, resulting in low efficiency and quality of public policies, especially the anti-poverty social assistance. Consequently, already in implementation democracy, public administration is geared towards managerial management, citizen-focused, under decentralization.

The democratization process in public administration requires decentralization, and that means redistribution of power in a democratic relationship between state and society, promoting access to public services of this. So, this process of decentralization and democratization materializes in organizational models, starting to require models that incorporate the requirements necessary to improve the effectiveness of public administration, creating new structures for effective social participation, focused on the citizen.

To meet the complexity of this item, the research in this step is analyzed taking as reference the elements of public administration presented by Lima,22 which were adapted to the peculiarities of the Brazilian forest management. For the study the following were considered: forest planning; Implementation (forest management structure, administrative procedures, human resources); Control (service and public service, governance and social interaction); Organizational management and standardization. After the construction of the forest policy, where the own organizational management is studied, this is redirected to enforce the policy.23

Discussion and considerations

The methodology has attained the purpose of assigning support the genesis of policy brought up by the state-society relationship. The fundamentals of forest policy have given support, instrumentation and systematization of forest public policy content, in order to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in the course of action triggered in the construction of forest policies. The orientation presented in this work allows to study, according to the circumstances and objectives of the investigation, forest policies in time and space, through the political content, political process, political institutions, networks and political structures, political arena and political cycles.

The application of this methodological outline guided the construction of the Forestry Programs of the State of Amapá and Sergipe, with the adaptations to the peculiarities each state requires. The study, however, does not intend to present a finished method of formulation and analysis of forest public policy, but to instigate the study on the subject-away from if you want to exhaust it-and to encourage academic reflection on it.




Amapá State Government and Sergipe State Government.

Competing interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


  1. Ribot J. The democratic decentralization of natural resources: The institutionalization of popular participation. Washington DC. 2002. p.40.
  2. Agrawal A, Ribot JC. Accountability in Decentralization – A Framework with South Asian and West African Cases. World Resources Institute, Institutions and Governance Program, 10 G Street, Suite 800, Washington DC. 20020 p. 1–63.
  3. Andersson KP. Who Talks with Whom? The Role of Repeated Interactions in Decentralized Forest Governance. World Development. 2004;32(2):233–249.
  4. Manor J. User committees: A potentially damaging second wave of decentralisation?. European Journal of Development Research. 2004;16(1):192–213.
  5. Ribot JC. Waiting for democracy: The politics of choice in natural resource decentralizations. Washington DC. 2004. p. 154.
  6. Jesse C Ribot, ArunAgrawal, Anne M Larson. Recentralizing While Decentralizing: How National Governments Reappropriate Forest Resources. World Development. 2006;34(11):1864–1886.
  7. Dillinger W. Decentralization and Its implications for urban service delivery. Washington DC. 1994. p. 44.
  8. Arun Agrawal, Jesse Ribot . Accountability in Decentralization: A Framework with South Asian and West African Cases. The Journal of Developing Areas. 1999;33(4):473–502.
  9. ArunAgrawal. Common Property Institutions and Sustainable Governance of Resources. World  Development. 2001;29(10):1649–1672.
  10. Dallari DA. Elements of general state theory. 25th edn. Sao Paulo: Saraiva; 2005.
  11. Merlo, M, Paveri, M. A focus on the combination of policy tools: Training and implementation of forest policies. Roma: FAO; 1997. p. 207–229.
  12.  Food and aggriculture Organigation. Forests and poverty reduction. 2001.
  13. A. Gottle and EH Sène. Protective and environmental functions of forests. Unasylva.1997:48(190–191,):3–4.
  14. Weber M. Economics and Society – Fundamentals of Comprehensive Sociology. 3rd edn. Brasília: Editora Universidade de Brasília; 1999.
  15. Rocha JD S, Silva JA. The functions of state in the forest area: their inter–relations with the federal constitution and with the national forest program. Digital Library of Journals. 2009;39(2):253–271.
  16. Rocha JD S, Silva JA. The functions of state in the forest area: its interestrelations with the federal constitution and with thenational forest program. Forest and Environment Magazine. 2001;8;223–226.
  17. Milani Carlos RS. The principle of social participation in the management of local public policies : an analysis of Latin American and European experiences. Rev Adm Pública. 2008;42(3):551–79.
  18. Rojo R, Milani C, Arturi C. Expressions of political contestation and mechanisms of democratic control. International Social ScienceJournal. 2004;182:615–628.
  19. Silva F, Jaccoud L, Beghin N. Social Policies In Brazil: Participation, Councils and Partnerships. In: Jaccoud L. Brasília: IPEA; 2005. p. 373–408.
  20. Development of an effective forest policy. A guide. Roma: Food and aggriculture Organigation; 2010.
  21. Bresser Pereira LC. State Reform for Citizenship Luiz Carlos Bresser–Pereira. Brasília: ENAP; São Paulo; 1998.
  22. LIMA, P. D. B.
  23. Excellence in public management: the trajectory and strategy of gespública. 2007. p. 227.
Creative Commons Attribution License

©2020 Rocha, et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and build upon your work non-commercially.