Unity in diversity? When advocacy coalitions and policy beliefs grow trees in South Africa

Malkamäki, Arttu, Ylä-Anttila, Tuomas, Brockhaus, Maria, Toppinen, Anne and Wagner, Paul (2021) Unity in diversity? When advocacy coalitions and policy beliefs grow trees in South Africa. Land Use Policy, 102. p. 105283. ISSN 0264-8377

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2021.105283


Competing coalitions can stabilise policymaking and hinder policy changes that are required to address the mounting pressures on land use systems across the globe. Thus, understanding the driving forces of coalition formation is important. This paper builds on the Advocacy Coalition Framework to determine the relative contributions of two sets of beliefs (more general policy core beliefs and more specific beliefs concerning policy instruments) to coalition formation in South African tree plantation politics and to identify coalitions therein. Discourse Network Analysis was used to code 656 statements regarding 40 beliefs to create network data from 55 interviews with organisational elites. Results from a network analysis of the twelve most salient beliefs indicate that dissimilar policy core beliefs about the validity of environmental regulation, social costs of tree plantations, and the conditionality of land reform in South Africa divide actors into two coalitions: the hegemonic “business-as-usual” coalition and the minority “justice and change” coalition. These boundaries were confirmed by comparing the network based on shared policy core beliefs with a co-ordination network. Dissimilar beliefs concerning policy instruments, including eco-certification and an indicative zoning, also divide actors, yet actors’ reasoning for or against these instruments differ to the degree that united fronts are unlikely to form. Hegemonic coalitions that combine selected state and business interests with labour arguments and prioritise short-term economic efficiency threaten to delay the necessary changes away from business-as-usual across land use systems in South Africa and beyond.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: This work was supported by the Doctoral Programme in Sustainable Use of Renewable Natural Resources of the University of Helsinki (AGFOREE). The first author gratefully acknowledges the support of travel grants for data collection through the Finnish Forest Foundation, Metsämiesten Säätiö Foundation, and the University of Helsinki Chancellor’s Travel Grant. Funding sources of other authors that contributed to the preparation of the manuscript include Academy of Finland (332916/320780), University of Helsinki Research Funds, Kone Foundation, and Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS).
Uncontrolled Keywords: Forest landscape restoration, Discourse network analysis, Belief systems, Industrial tree plantations, Community detection, Advocacy coalition framework
Subjects: L700 Human and Social Geography
N200 Management studies
N900 Others in Business and Administrative studies
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2021 11:48
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 14:48
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/45294

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