Cashore Receives IUFRO Award for Advances in Global Forest Governance

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Benjamin Cashore
Benjamin Cashore, a professor of environmental governance and political science at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES), has received the prestigious Scientific Achievement Award from the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO). He was recognized for his achievements in research related to governance of forest resources worldwide.

Cashore was one of just 10 recipients to receive the award, which is given by the independent scientific committee every four years. The formal ceremony will be held at IUFRO’s 2014 World Congress, to be held in Salt Lake City in October.

“After years of conducting a range of research efforts across different domains —from North America and Europe to Southeast Asia and Brazil — it’s gratifying to be rewarded with this kind of recognition,” Cashore said. “I take it not simply as a reflection of the cutting edge work we’ve done in my lab but also that we’ve done it in a way that is useful to addressing ongoing forestry and environmental challenges.”

Cashore is the director of both the Governance, Environmental and Markets Initiative (GEM) and the Program on Forest Policy and Governance at F&ES. In addition to his work at Yale, Cashore directs IUFRO’s Task Force on International Forest Governance, which was created to design and promote new tools for improving forest policy governance — including innovative market mechanisms — that engage a broad coalition of stakeholders.

The task force has produced a series of policy briefs and strategic documents that help practitioners worldwide implement a range of innovative forest policy approaches — including legality verification of forestry products and REDD+, a UN-based program that provides incentives to developing nations to preserve forests.

These and other forest governance schemes will only succeed, Cashore says, if they involve stakeholders at all levels and link the strategies with meaningful results on the ground.
If you look at my CV, I’ve probably published with 50 people in the last 15 years. And they’re all a part of this effort.
— Benjamin Cashore
There have already been some promising outcomes. During a recent meeting in Southeast Asia, Cashore says, the IUFRO task force was deliberating over the ways in which the verification of legal wood products might contribute to, rather than detract from, forest dependent communities. A community leader suggested that forest dependent communities might be aided if international third parties were permitted to be auditors to assess legal compliance.

While it may have seemed counterintuitive, this insight led task force members to theorize that countries might be willing to cede some degree of domestic sovereignty over policy mechanisms, if doing so helped reinforce domestic capacity to implement substantive policy decisions. These insights, Cashore argues, both help explain why countries like Indonesia now accept the role of third party auditors over their domestic legality standards, but also provide evidence of the need to integrate collaborative learning across stakeholders, policy makers, and scholars. It is to this integration that Cashore is now devoting much of his time and interests.

Cashore says this this award, while recognizing a single person, actually owes to the generation of synergy and insights of his many collaborators, including his doctoral students and colleagues at F&ES. “If you look at my CV, I’ve probably published with 50 people in the last 15 years,” he said. “And they’re all a part of this effort.”
Cashore noted that each of GEM’s programs is led by doctoral students, including the Program on Forest Policy and Governance (Michael Stone); The Program on Law, Rights and Environmental Governance (Sebastien Jodoin); the Program on Private Authority (Stefan Renckens); the Program on Climate Change Policy (Matto Mildenberger); and the Green Markets Lab (Jasmine Hyman), a program that is shared with the Center for Business and the Environment at Yale (CBEY).
The International Union of Forest Research Organizations is a nonprofit, non-governmental network of over 700 organizations and thousands of scientists and scholars that promotes global cooperation in forest-related research and encourages understanding of the ecological, economic and social benefits of forests.