This Bulletin attempts to link two sets of pressing contemporary concerns. On the one hand, it addresses changing relationships between science, policy and society in the context of internationalisation and public challenges to formal expertise; concerns currently under hot debate in European settings as much as in developing countries.
On the other hand, it engages with issues around rural landscape and livelihoods in low‑income countries, particularly in West Africa and the Caribbean. Tropical forests provide a linking focus, strongly implicated as they are both in local livelihoods and struggles for resource control, and in scientific and policy debates extending from local settings to highly charged global arenas – not least in the lead-up to the ‘Rio Plus 10’ Conference on Environment and Development in Johannesburg, 2002.
The Bulletin reviews important advances in the science of forest dynamics, which in turn suggest ways that forest policies could become more ‘pro-poor’. At the same time, it analyses the science/policy processes and power/knowledge relations, which must be addressed if such changes are to come about.
We hope that this Bulletin will be of interest not only to researchers, policy-makers and practitioners working in the forestry, environment and development fields, but also to those interested in science and policy more broadly, illustrating how issues often examined in ‘northern’, hi-tech industrial settings, could work out in very different contexts in the ‘south’.