9.01.07 - Forests and the media

Coordinator:

Ida Wallin, Germany

Deputies:

Peter Edwards, New Zealand

Jan Lichy, Slovakia

Mi Sun Park, Korea (Rep)

About Unit

Working Party 9.01.07 focuses on print and online media communication about forestry and forest related issues. In an ever more connected world, individuals and actors communicate their ideas and opinions through different media platforms with potentially large-scale influence on policies and social, political, and economic behavior.

We aim to strengthen the research on new and traditional media communication related to forests and forestry through facilitating collaborations among researchers interested in the topic and through outreach activities targeting students, stakeholders, media, and decision-makers.

The Working Party aims to:

  • Facilitate the development of theory and methodology to research and assess all types of media communication,
  • Find concrete ways to share data across geographical, linguistic and technological boundaries,
  • Make research about forest-related media communication visible within IUFRO and among policy- and decision-makers,
  • Stimulate and support educational efforts that integrate research about media communication,
  • Promote a critical perspective on forest-related political communication in general and especially towards the public.

We warmly invite those researchers who would like to contribute to these aims to get in contact with us and bring their engagement and ideas to the group.

We especially invite other IUFRO units interested in media communications to take part in our activities and share their topic-relevant research with us.


State of Knowledge

Media analysis has long been a tool for forest policy analysis, and has especially targeted discourses, deliberation and public opinion formation in traditional print media. The media influences forest governance through shaping and communicating opinions by actors to a wider audience. Through media communication, actors mobilize resources in order to gain advantages and promote their interests. For example, how parties in forest conflicts understand and frame the issue plays a crucial role for which solutions are implemented. The media discourse can provide a platform for deliberations, and public opinion formation, consequently leading to legitimization of certain actions over others in the process of policy-making.

Over the last decade, power relations between actors have changed due to the rise of new media (e.g. blogs and YouTube) and social media platforms (e.g. Twitter and Facebook). Unlike traditional media, new and social media allow two-way communication between individuals and organizations. Here, actors can participate, frame and reframe their own and others’ opinions without the barriers of traditional media. There is only a limited number of studies and articles targeting these new platforms and communication patterns in relation to forest issues.

To conclude, what meets the public today is a mixture of different media where newspapers, television and social media are all interacting with each other in a dynamic manner and with potentially great influence on forest governance. The working group aims to gain better understanding these emerging patterns of political communication and assess their potential influence on forest policy and governance.