Seeing the Global Forest for the Trees: How US Federalism Can Coexist with Global Governance of Forests
Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research, Vol. 1, No. 4, pp. 353-365, October 2009
Posted: 29 Mar 2010 Last revised: 12 Apr 2018
Date Written: October 1, 2009
Both international forest and climate negotiations have failed to produce a legally binding treaty that addresses forest management activities - either comprehensively or more narrowly through carbon capture - due, in part, to lack of US leadership. Though US cooperation is crucial for facilitating both forest and climate negotiations, the role of federalism in constraining these trends has been given scant attention. We argue that, as embodied in the US Constitution, federalism complicates the US’s role in creating any legally binding treaty that directly regulates land uses (e.g. forest management). Because federalism reserves primary land use regulatory authority for state governments, voluntary, market-based mechanisms, like REDD and forest certification, should be included within any binding treaty aimed at forest management, in order to facilitate US participation.
Keywords: Federalism, Forests, Treaty, Constitution, Global Governance
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