Exploring the justice in forestry negotiations: trading justice for politics.

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Environmental justice is an important political challenge with impacts that extend beyond the environment to affect social and economic interests. Environmental justice proponents call for a greater voice for the environment (see Lukasiewicz et al. 2013; Neal et al. 2014), and many significant policy reforms have been implemented in response to such calls, including the Tasmanian Forest Agreement. Contention about the impact of forest harvesting on environmental forest values drove decades of conflict despite several attempts at resolution (see Webb et al. 2008; Schirmer 2013; Gale 2014). A new resolution effort, the ‘Tasmanian forest peace process’, was initiated in 2009 and culminated with the 2012 Tasmanian Forest Agreement (TFA). The TFA introduced significant policy changes, including new conservation reserves and a reduced timber harvest volume, but critics felt it lacked democratic legitimacy and had poor social justice outcomes (Schirmer et al. in press). As a consequence the TFA was short-lived, repealed in August 2014 after being legislated in 2013, although many of its provisions remained in place. Despite the repeal, the peace process and resulting TFA represent an important contemporary political process in Australian environmental governance, from which many justice lessons can be learnt. In this chapter we evaluate the peace process from the perspective of procedural justice, focusing on the process rather than on its outcomes (distributive justice). This allows for an exploration of how the negotiation process influenced perceptions of the justice process, providing insights to the trade-offs involved between procedural justice and achieving desired outcomes. Following a brief overview of the study methods, we present key principles of procedural justice using the Social Justice Framework (Lukasiewicz and Baldwin 2014), and identify nine normative indicators of procedural justice that guide our subsequent analysis. We then discuss lessons from the Tasmanian forest peace process for justice, focusing on the challenge of satisfying multiple procedural justice objectives within a highly contested political environment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNatural Resources and Environmental Justice: Australian Perspectives
EditorsAnna Lukasiewicz, Stephen Dovers, Libby Robin, Jennifer McKay, Stephen Schilizzi, Sonia Graham
Place of PublicationSydney
PublisherCSIRO Publishing
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781486306381
ISBN (Print)9781486306374
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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