Forestry paradigms and policy change: The evolution of forestry policy in Britain in relation to the ecosystem approach | Land Portal

Resource information

Date of publication: 
December 2015
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 
License of the resource: 

Forestry policy and practice in Britain has been subject to a series of paradigm changes since the establishment of the Forestry Commission in 1919. Drawing on a documentary analysis of legislation, published policy statements, commentaries and scholarly critiques, this paper argues that British forestry policy has undergone three significant paradigm shifts since it was first mooted in the late 19th century. With origins in a largely ad hoc and laissez-faire attitude towards forest expansion and management which dominated up to World War I, a productivist stance based on intensive mono-culture plantations in order to reduce import dependence then held sway until the early 1970s. This has since been overlain with ideas about multi-functionality and sustainability that continue to be important today. The new ecosystem approach (and its specific emphasis on the provision of ecosystem services) can arguably be viewed as an emerging new forestry paradigm era in which ideas of resilience and sustainability are to the fore. It is suggested in conclusion that while the policy and practice of forestry in Britain continues to mirror broader shifts in environmental governance within the country, these in turn are increasingly influenced by international debates and obligations.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Raum, Susanne
Potter, Clive


Land Use Policy is an international and interdisciplinary journal concerned with the social, economic, political, legal, physical and planning aspects of urban and rural land use. It provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and information from the diverse range of disciplines and interest groups which must be combined to formulate effective land use policies.

Data provider

ScienceDirect logo

What is ScienceDirect

Elsevier’s leading platform of peer-reviewed scholarly literature.

University libraries and institutions offer ScienceDirect access to their communities of researchers.

Researchers, teachers, students, healthcare and information professionals use ScienceDirect to improve the way they search, discover, read, understand and share scholarly research.

Share this page