Resources Science ›› 2020, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (4): 636-648.doi: 10.18402/resci.2020.04.04

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Actor-Centred Power Theory in forest governance

ZHAO Jiacheng1,2, ZHANG Pei1, BA Feng1, MAX Krott2, LIU Jinlong1()   

  1. 1. School of Agriculture and Rural Development, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China
    2. Institute of Forest and Nature Conservation Policy, University of Goettingen, Goettingen D-37077, Germany
  • Received:2019-08-01 Revised:2020-03-24 Online:2020-04-25 Published:2020-06-25
  • Contact: LIU Jinlong


The rapid development of the world economy and society, the reduction of forest area, forest degradation, and other ecological and environmental issues have become significantly prominent. The forest has become an important stage for the game of different actors. In order to analyze the social network relationship in the research field of forest governance, this article introduced the Actor-centered Power theory established by Max Krott and other colleagues. The theory proposes that actors can impose their interest on others through three power elements coercion, (dis)incentive, and dominant information, which would change the latter’s behavior and determine the ultimate effect of forest governance. Through the analysis of social networks to guide the formulation and implementation of relevant policies, this theory has gradually become an important analytical framework for many research fields. Our article summed up the concepts of power theory, research methods, and classification of power elements, and further explored the research boundary and applicable fields of the theory. Finally, combining Chinese research situation, our article put forward the application prospect and development potential of the theory in China. Under the background of ecological civilization construction, the Actor-centered Power theory could provide an effective analytical framework for Chinese scholars to analyze the existing governance structure of natural resources such as forests and build a good governance system.

Key words: forest governance, policy study, actor perspective, power theory, analytical framework