Maintenance of Forest Biodiversity in a Post-Soviet Governance Model: Perceptions by Local Actors in Lithuania
Successful biodiversity conservation does not depend on ecologic knowledge alone. Good conservation policies and policy implementation tools are equally important. Moreover, the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of local actors, directly in charge of operations in the field, are a key to successful policy implementation. The connections between policy objectives and their implementation as well as the involvement of local actors’ efforts in implementing policy objectives largely depend on the governance model in use. This article assesses the knowledge of local actors in relation to the biodiversity conservation objectives and tools in Lithuanian forest management. As a main framework for this study, the needs assessment approach was applied. The study used both in-depth open-ended interviews and follow-up telephone interviews. Two state forest enterprises in Lithuania were selected as the study sites. The findings indicate that policy objectives in the field of forest biodiversity conservation and the related tools are well known but not well understood by those in charge of forest biodiversity policy implementation. To improve the situation, a transition toward adaptive learning and participatory governance as a means of facilitating conservation efforts is proposed.