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A tentative causal chain to assess the effectiveness of jurisdictional approaches to reduced deforestation

Chervier C., Piketty M.G., Reed J.. 2020. In : Gitz V., Meybeck A., Ricci F., Belcher B., Brady M.A., Coccia F., Elias M., Jamnadass R., Kettle C., Larson A., Li Y., Louman B., Martius C., Minang P., Sinclair F., Sist P., Somarriba E. (editors). FTA 2020 Science Conference: Forests, trees and agroforestry science for transformational change: Book of abstracts. Bogor : CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), p. 195-195. FTA 2020 Science Conference: Forests, trees and agroforestry science for transformational change, 2020-09-14/2020-09-25, Bogor (Indonésie).

Sub-national jurisdictions are increasingly promoted as strategic levels of governance for achieving zero deforestation objectives. Jurisdictional approaches (JAs) emerged as government-led, holistic approaches to forest and land use management across one or more legally defined territories. Despite increasing popularity amongst the science and practitioner communities, there is a lack of robust empirical data documenting their effectiveness. A major challenge to evaluation is that it remains relatively unclear what is meant by JAs. For this reason, this paper aims at clarifying the concept of JAs specifically to facilitate its evaluation. We argue that this overall objective can be partly achieved by creating a generic causal chain for JAs. Indeed, the design of the three main types of approaches that are applicable to evaluate JAs could be significantly improved if they were based on a causal chain. Defining a causal chain can also be useful to identify the intervention dimension of JAs. Indeed, JAs do not correspond to unguided processes of institutional change but rather entail a number of purposive actions that are aimed at achieving jurisdictional sustainability, which compose a jurisdictional program. Clarifying the intervention dimension is in turn necessary to implement the two evaluation approaches that emphasize causality and allow drawing important lessons to improve, replicate and scale up JAs. We design a tentative generic causal chain for JAs by integrating existing empirical knowledge on JAs with middle-range theories from the literature on collective environmental governance. This generic causal chain for JAs is articulated around two second-tier intermediary outcomes ¿ namely the emergence of collaboration and social learning ¿ in order to achieve the first-tier outcome of JAs, namely the definition of a coherent set of collective and locally devised rules, plans and interventions. The literature on social learning and on the emergence of collaborative arrangements for the management of natural resources proved to be helpful to clarify assumptions underlying the links between second- and third-tier outcomes, i.e. the conditions fostering collaboration and social learning. Building a generic causal chain was also helpful to define the boundaries of jurisdictional programs and justify corresponding strategies. We conclude by saying that this generic causal chain shall be improved through the implementation of more research aimed at testing the different causal links and potentially identifying new ones in real-life case studies.

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