Using Forest Certification to Strengthen Rural Communities: Cases from Northwest Russia

19 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2006

See all articles by Errol Meidinger

Errol Meidinger

University at Buffalo Law School; University of Freiburg

Maria Tysiachniouk

Center for Independent Social Research


The rapid globalization of forest products markets has placed many rural forest-based communities under considerable pressure to rapidly exploit forest resources. To counter, transnational environmental organizations have promoted programs for forest certification, seeking to use global market forces to support environmentally and socially responsible forest management. This paper reports the impacts of the Forest Stewardship Council certification program on four rural communities in northwestern Russia. Drawing on network analysis, community studies methods and the concept of "social imaginaries", it finds that several variables can maximize positive outcomes for local communities. The most important variable is the degree of involvement by globally networked environmental organizations. Also important are the commitment of forest enterprises to certification, pre-Perestroika social structures in local communities, and local expectations about possible reactions of European consumers.

Keywords: Civil Society, Community, Ecolabels, Environmental Policy, Forestry, Governance, Green Markets, Institutionalization, Network Analysis, Nongovernmental Organizations, Social Imaginary, Sustainability

Suggested Citation

Meidinger, Errol and Tysiachniouk, Maria, Using Forest Certification to Strengthen Rural Communities: Cases from Northwest Russia. Buffalo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2006-011, Available at SSRN: or

Errol Meidinger (Contact Author)

University at Buffalo Law School ( email )

520 O'Brian Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100
United States
716-645-6692 (Phone)
716-645-2064 (Fax)

University of Freiburg ( email )

Tennebacher Str. 4
Freiburg, 79106

Maria Tysiachniouk

Center for Independent Social Research ( email )

office 301, bld. 87, Ligovskij prospect,
St. Petersburg, 191040

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