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On May 22, 2008 the U.S. Congress passed amendments to the Lacey Act of 1900 that make it unlawful to import, export, sell, purchase or transport in interstate or international commerce any plants or products made of plants harvested or traded in violation of domestic and international laws, including timber and timber products. These amendments may open a new era in the development of global forest governance.

For one thing, this is a U.S. law that not only bans domestic trade in goods that were produced in violation of domestic laws of the United States, U.S. States and foreign countries but also attempts to indirectly regulate the production in foreign countries. At the same time, the Lacey Act itself does not violate international free trade regulations. The Lacey Act therefore brings public forms of forest governance back in the transnational space. Another interesting thing about it is that public and private actors reactivate an old piece of legislation to address a current issue. The case of the amended Lacey Act demonstrates that actors can effectively export dormant or taken-for-granted rules from one issue domain to another to achieve their goals. Finally, the Lacey Act opens up new opportunities for a public-private cooperation: if public authorities recognize certificates issued by nonstate certification programs similar to the Forest Stewardship Council forest certification as a sufficient proof of legality of timber, this may become an incentive for producers to certify their forest management. Nonstate actors can therefore use the Lacey Act as a leverage to promote better standards of forest management among or to reward well-performing producers. Read the rest of this entry »

The Book

Governance across borders: transnational fields and transversal themes. Leonhard Dobusch, Philip Mader and Sigrid Quack (eds.), 2013, epubli publishers.
November 2017
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