Characteristics and challenges of forest sector communication in the EU
Fragmentation of forest policy at the EU level and image problems of the forest industry have increased forest sector actors’ interest for cooperation on and coordination of communication activities. Although internal communication in the forest sector at the European level is generally well developed both formally and informally, the desired strengthening of communication with other sectors and the public at large is perceived as difficult. In this pre-study 39 interviews were conducted with EU and UNECE/FAO officials, EU level Forest-based Industries and forestry sector federation representatives, and forest scientists working at the European level. The results indicate that EU level forest sector core actors’ ideas on communication differ. Ideas range from strictly image improvement; being more successful at lobbying with other sectors and high-level policy-makers; up to building long-lasting relations and two-way communication processes with other sectors. This makes it difficult to come to coordinated action among forest sector actors. A more active exchange of information on best practices in forest communication between national as well as European level actors, and increased coordination of communication efforts is desired by industry, forest owners as well as policy-makers. However, clear ideas on how to improve, especially inter-sectoral, communication are largely lacking.
Received 29 November 2006 Accepted 31 August 2007 Published 31 December 2007