Fuelwood as an indicator of inconsistencies in a national forest policy: a case study in two French regions

Abstract : In France, since 2005, national energy policies have been started to promote fuelwood. The point of the paper is to investigate how fuelwood is a boundary object which forces traditional forest actors to change their management by confronting them with new actors. Three groups are involved in elaborating new policies for fuelwood: forestry, energy and territorial actors. The aim of the policies is to develop what is presented both as an opportunity to enhance harvesting economics and to develop a renewable and local energy, necessary to achieve the European Union climate and energy package targets for 2020. However, in France it appears that these actors have considerable difficulties to work together, even with the intervention of public authorities. These difficulties are reinforced by decentralization processes which had been at work for the last 25 years. Historically centralized, forest policy has been impacted by the increasing importance given to environmental and agricultural problems, the growing power of European over national policies and the introduction of new public policy instruments. Hence, the importance of the State has been decreased and sectoral forest actors empowered. Priority was given to timber during the 19 th and 20 th centuries. Therefore, forest actors consider fuelwood as the ultimate promotion for wood products. To the contrary, the top-down approach of energy actors considers energy as the foremost issue, supported by national policies promoting renewable energies to meet the EU 2020 targets. The tension between these decentralization processes and the top-down approach of energy actor suggest that scale is a key issue between these actors. This issue was studied by an important geographic literature for the last 30 years (Herod, 2011). Methodologically, the research uses semi-structured interviews conducted with different stakeholders in two French regions (Rhône-Alpes and Auvergne) and information collected in meetings of actors from local to national scale. The paper starts with the changes implied in forest governance by the development of fuelwood. Secondly, the cohabitation between different users and different sizes of heating system is analysed, then briefly illustrated through two case studies. Finally, we discuss the importance of scale and how fuelwood highlights specific scalar structuration.
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Socio-economic Analyses of Sustainable Forest Management, May 2013, Prague, Czech Republic. Proceedings, 2013
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Antoine Tabourdeau. Fuelwood as an indicator of inconsistencies in a national forest policy: a case study in two French regions. Socio-economic Analyses of Sustainable Forest Management, May 2013, Prague, Czech Republic. Proceedings, 2013. 〈hal-01133356〉

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