Journal Article

Human values and their importance to the development of forestry policy in Britain: a literature review

E.A. O'brien

in Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research

Published on behalf of Institute of Chartered Foresters

Volume 76, issue 1, pages 3-17
Published in print January 2003 | ISSN: 0015-752X
Published online January 2003 | e-ISSN: 1464-3626 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/forestry/76.1.3
Human values and their importance to the development of forestry policy in Britain: a literature review

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  • Conservation of the Environment (Environmental Science)
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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This paper reviews the literature surrounding the elicitation of environmental values and their role in decision‐making. Many different disciplines, such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, philosophy and economics, have grappled with the concept of value and its definition and study. This paper outlines current themes in the environmental debate, discusses policy development within forestry surrounding sustainability concepts, and illustrates the complex nature of values and how they are formed. The main approaches taken in eliciting environmental values, based on the differing social science philosophies of positivism and interpretivism, are discussed. It is argued here that the assessment of people's preferences for intangible benefits through economic valuation techniques, which have been the predominant method used over the past decade to elicit environmental values, does not and cannot capture the full range of values that people may have. In this paper it is recommended that deliberative approaches, such as citizens' juries, focus groups and in‐depth interviews, will be needed to tackle this problem and explore public interest issues. The values people hold for the environment are often multiple and complex and conflicts have arisen when land managers have failed to take these into consideration. It is suggested that a clearer idea of the depth and breadth of values for the environment will provide important information to forestry policy‐makers and managers. Sustainable forest management is the key issue for forestry and there is a need to have greater regard for the social element of this equation. Understanding how and why forests, trees and woods are valued is becoming increasingly important. It is also argued that the examination of values should involve discursive processes in which the public good and public interest are negotiated within the public domain through deliberative and democratic procedures.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Conservation of the Environment (Environmental Science) ; Environmental Sustainability ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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