Dr Constance McDermott is Senior Fellow in Forest Governance and Leader of Ecosystems Governance Group at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford. She chairs the ECI’s Ecosystems Governance Group (formerly the Forest Governance Group).
Her research addresses the linkages among diverse local, regional and global priorities for sustainable forest management. It examines both “new” and “old” institutions of forest governance, from market-based initiatives such as forest and carbon certification to sovereign state-based and traditional community-based approaches, to better understand how dynamics of trust and power shape environmental and social policies and facilitate or inhibit desired outcomes. Her methods range from locally focused case studies to large-scale comparative research examining cross-institutional and cross-boundary interactions.
McDermott’s work at ECI and the Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests includes an emphasis on the integration of forest governance into the global climate regime. Recent research directions include the examination of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) initiatives, and the role of both pre-existing and new forest institutions for addressing REDD-related environmental and social mandates.
Before beginning at Oxford in April 2009, McDermott worked for five years at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies where she served as Associate Research Scientist and Program Director of the Program on Forest Policy and Governance. She has conducted research and applied work in multi-stakeholder processes, forest and green building certification, intergovernmental forest-related governance, and international development in North and Central America, South Asia, and globally.
Within the theme of comparative governmental and inter-governmental policy, McDermott addresses the effects of market globalization on domestic forest policy, and the conflicts and synergies between trade and conservation oriented objectives within inter-governmental processes. For example, McDermott is lead author of the book, Global Environmental Forest Policy, together with co-authors Professors Benjamin Cashore (Yale University) and Peter Kanowski (Australian National University). The book compares environmental forest policies in twenty countries worldwide, and serves as a launching point for research on the role of government regulation in addressing REDD-related climate objectives.
McDermott’s work on trade-based initiatives includes the study of the impacts of wood products trade with the US and China on forests of the Amazon, Borneo, Chile, Congo, Mekong, and Russian Far East. Outputs from this work include a framework for establishing a “results-based” approach to prioritize the engagement of producers and traders in wood product sourcing initiatives.
The certification of forests and forest products, and related initiatives (for example, green building, forest carbon certification) are another focal point as new forms of non-state governance designed to balance stakeholder interests both “vertically” (i.e. from the local to global level) and “horizontally” (i.e. across diverse interest groups). McDermott’s research in this area includes the study of trust and distrust among stakeholders in shaping certification standards and uptake. Outputs include the development of policy tools for evaluating the use of certified wood in green building.
- McDermott, C. and Ituarte-Lima, C. (2016) Safeguarding what and for whom? The role of institutional fit in shaping REDD+ in Mexico. Ecology and Society, 21(1)(9).
- McDermott, C.L. (2016) The Regulatory and Policy Interventions for Achieving Sustainability. Chapter 3 in, Panwar, R., Kozak, R. and Hansen, E. (eds.) Forests, Business and Sustainability. Routledge, UK.
- Setyowati, A. and McDermott, C. (2016) Commodifying Legality? Who and What Counts as Legal in the Indonesian Wood Trade. Society and Natural Resources: 1-15.
- Van Asselt, H. and McDermott, C.L. (2016) The Institutional Complex for REDD : A ‘Benevolent Jigsaw’? In, Voigt, C. (ed.) Research Handbook on REDD+ and International Law. .
- Barron, D.P. and McDermott, C.L. (2015) Private Funder Perspectives on Local Social and Environmental Impacts in ‘Reducing Emissions from deforestation and Degradation+’. Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, 17(2): 277-293.
- Hahn, T., McDermott, C., Ituarte-Lima, C., Schultz, M., Green, T. and Tuvendal, M. (2015) Purposes and degrees of commodification: Economic instruments for biodiversity and ecosystem services need not rely on markets or monetary valuation. Ecosystem Services, 16: 74-82.
- McDermott, C.L., Irland, L.C. and Pacheco, P. (2015) Forest certification and legality initiatives in the Brazilian Amazon: Lessons for effective and equitable forest governance. Forest Policy and Economics, 50: 134-142.
- Petrokovsky, G., Kanowski, P., Brown, N. and McDermott, C. (2015) Biodiversity and the forest sector. In, Willis, K.J. and Gasparatos, A. (eds.) Biodiversity in the Green Economy. Routledge.
- Schmidt, C.A. and McDermott, C.L. (2015) Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon: Local explanations for forestry law compliance. Social Legal Studies, 24(1): 3-24.
- Tysiachniouk, M. and McDermott, C.L. (2015) Certification with Russian characteristics: Implications for social and environmental equity. Forest Policy and Economics.
- Ituarte-Lima, C., McDermott, C.L. and Mulyani, M. (2014) Assessing equity in national legal frameworks for REDD+: The case of Indonesia. Environmental Science and Policy, 44: 291-300.
- Ituarte-Lima, C., Schultz, M., Hahn, T., McDermott, C. and Cornell, S. (2014) Biodiversity financing and safeguards: lessons learned and proposed guidelines. Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University.
- Klenk, N.L., Larson, B.M.H. and McDermott, C.L. (2014) Adapting forest certification to climate change. WIREs Climate Change.
- Lesniewska, F. and McDermott, C.L. (2014) FLEGT VPAs: Laying a pathway to sustainability via legality lessons from Ghana and Indonesia. Forest Policy and Economics.
- McDermott, C. (2014) The Real Priorities in Saving the Forests..
- McDermott, C.L. (2014) REDDuced: From sustainability to legality to units of carbon – the search for common interests in international forest governance. Environmental Science and Policy, 35: 12-19.
- Pinto, L.F.G., Gardner, T., McDermott, C., Omar, K. and Ayub, L. (2014) Group certification supports an increase in the diversity of sustainable agriculture network–rainforest alliance certified coffee producers in Brazil. Ecological Economics, 107(November 2014): 59-64.
- Schroeder, H. and McDermott, C. (2014) Enabling Justice and Equity in REDD+ Across Levels of Governance. Ecology and Society, 19(1).
- Lyster, R., MacKenzie, C. and McDermott, C.L. (eds.) (2013) Law, Tropical Forests and Carbon: The Case of REDD+. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN: 9781107028807.
- Mahanty, S. and McDermott, C. (2013) How Does ‘Free, Prior and Informed Consent’ (FPIC) Impact Social Equity? Lessons from mining and forestry and their implications for REDD+. Land Use Policy, 35: 406-416.
- McDermott, C. (2013) Certification and Equity: Applying an “equity framework” to compare certification schemes across product sectors and scales. Environmental Science and Policy, 33: 428-437.
- McDermott, C. (2013) REDD+ and Multi-level Governance: Governing for what and for whom? Chapter 5 in, Lyster, R., MacKenzie, C. and McDermott, C. (eds.) Law, Tropical Forests and Carbon: the Case of REDD+. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
- Pinto, L.F. and McDermott, C. (2013) Equity and forest certification – a case study in Brazil. Forest Policy and Economics, 30: 23-29.
- Bozzi, L., Cashore, B., Levin, K. and McDermott, C.L. (2012) The role of private voluntary climate programs affecting forests: Assessing their direct and intersecting effects. In, Ronit, K. (ed.) Business and climate policy: The potentials and pitfalls of private voluntary programs. United Nations University, Tokyo.
- McDermott, C. (2012) Forestry Driver Mapping Project: Global and US Trade Report. GISF Research Papers(12).
- McDermott, C. (2012) Plantations and Communities: Key controversies and trends in certification standards., Bonn. Forest Stewardship Council.
- McDermott, C., Helfgott, A., Schroeder, H. and Coad, L. (2012) Operationalizing social safeguards in REDD+: Actors, interests and ideas. Environmental Science and Policy, 21: 63-72.
- McDermott, C.L. (2012) Trust, legitimacy and power in forest certification: A case study of the FSC in British Columbia. Geoforum, 43(3): 634-644.
- McDermott, C.L., van Asselt, H., Streck, C., Assembe, S., Duchelle, A., Haug, C., Humphreys, D., Mulyani, M., Silori, C., Suzuki, R., Zelli, F., Frick, S., Lentini, M., Luintel, H. and Salimon, C. (2012) Governance for REDD+, Forest Management and Biodiversity: Existing Approaches and Future Options. Chapter 5 in, Parrotta, J., Christoph, C. and Mansourie, S. (eds.) Understanding relationships between biodiversity, carbon, forests and people. IUFRO, Vienna. Commissioned by Global Forest Expert Panel, The Collaborative Partnership on Forests.
- Visseren-Hamakers, I.J., McDermott, C., Vijge, M.J. and Cashore, B. (2012) Trade-offs, co-benefits and safeguards: current debates on the breadth of REDD+. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 4(6): 646-653.
- Bernstein, S., Cashore, B., Eba’a Atyi, R., Maryudi, A., McGinley, K., Cadman, T., Gulbrandsen, L., Goehler, D., Hogel, K., Humphreys, D., Kant, S., Kozak, R., Levin, K., McDermott, C., Purdon, M., Scher, I., Stone, M.W., Tacconi, L. and Yasmi, Y. (2011) Examination of the influences of global forest governance arrangements at the domestic level. Chapter 7 in, Rayner, J., Buck, A., Katila, P. (ed.) Embracing complexity: Meeting the challenges of international forest governance. IUFRO, Vienna. Commissioned by Expert Panel on the International Forest Regime, The Collaborative Partnership on Forests.
- Kanowski, P., McDermott, C. and Cashore, B. (2011) Implementing REDD+: lessons from analysis of forest governance. Environmental Science and Policy, 14(2): 111-117.
- McDermott, C., Levin, K. and Cashore, B. (2011) Building the forest-climate bandwagon: REDD+ and the logic of problem amelioration. Global Environmental Politics, 11(3): 85-103.
- McDermott, C.L., Humphreys, D., Wildburger, C., Wood, P., Marfo, E., Pacheco, P. and Yasmi, Y. (2011) Mapping the core actors and issues defining international forest governance. Chapter 2 in, Rayner, J., Buck, A. and P. Katila (eds.) Embracing Complexity: Meeting the challenges of international forest governance. A global assessment report. Global Forest Expert Panel on the International Forest Regime. IUFRO World Series Volume 28, Vienna. pp. 19-36.
- Cashore, B., Galloway, G., Cubbage, F., Humphreys, D., Katila, P., Levin, K., McDermott, C., Maryudi, A. and McGinley, K. (2010) Ability of institutions to address new challenges. In, Mery, G., Katila, P., Galloway, G., Alfaro, R.I., Kanninen, M., Lobovikov, M. and J. Varjo (eds.) Forests and Society: Responding to Global Drivers of Change. IUFRO World Forests, Society and Environment Project.
- McDermott, C.L., Cashore, B. and Kanowski, P. (2010) Global Environmental Forest Policies: An international comparison. Earthscan, London. pp. 384. ISBN: 9781844075904.
- McDermott, C. and Cashore, B. (2009) Forestry Driver Mapping Project. Global and US Trade Report. Yale University, New Haven. Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry.
- McDermott, C.L., Cashore, B. and Kanowski, P. (2009) Setting the bar: an international comparison of public and private policy specifications and implications for explaining policy trends. Journal of Integrative Environmental Sciences, 6(3): 217-237.
- Nussbaum, R., Hoare, A., McDermott, C., Saunders, J. and Costa, P.M. (2009) Accelerating transfers of interim finance for REDD+: absorptive capacity and opportunities for early market involvement. Department for International Development (DFID), UK.
- Auld, G., Gulbrandsen, L.H. and McDermott, C.L. (2008) Certification schemes and the impacts on forests and forestry. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 33: 187-211.
- Levin, K., McDermott, C. and Cashore, B. (2008) The climate regime as global forest governance: can reduced emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) initiatives pass a ‘dual effectiveness’ test? International Forestry Review, 10(3): 538-549.
- McDermott, C., Irland, L., Cashore, B., Milakovsky, B., Rebelo, C. and Gordon, L. (2008) Eight reports on the wood trade, and trade-based conservation strategies focused on six eco-regions (Amazon, Chile, Amur / Heilongjiang, Mekong, Congo, Borneo), China, and the US. WWF-US, Washington DC, USA.
- McDermott, C.L. and Cashore, B. (2008) Summary Report: Assessing USGBCs forest certification policy options. Yale Program on Forest Policy and Governance
- Cashore, B., Auld, G., Bernstein, S. and McDermott, C. (2007) Can Non-state Governance Ratchet UpGlobal Environmental Standards? Lessons from the Forest Sector. Review of European Community & International Environmental Law, 16(2): 158-172.
- Cubbage, F., Galloway, G., Sills, E., Mac Donagh, P., McDermott, C., Oliver, C. and Higa, A. (eds.) (2007) Forests and Foresty in the Americas: An Encyclopedia. Society of American Foresters and International Society of Tropical Foresters.
- McDermott, C.L., Cashore, B. and Kanowski, P. (2007) A global comparison of forest practice policies using Tasmania as a constant case. Yale University
- McDermott, C.L., OCarroll, A. and Wood, P. (2007) International Forest Policy – the instruments, agreements and processes that shape it. United Nations Forum on Forests, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
- Hansen, E., Fletcher, R., Cashore, B., McDermott, C. and others (2006) Forest Certification in North America..
- McDermott, C.L. and Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry (2006) FSC in the northern Appalachians: a regional and sub-regional analysis of forest stewardship council certification as a tool for forest conservation. Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry.
- Stennes, B., Wang, S., Luján Alvarez, C., Wilson, B. and McDermott, C. (2005) Forestry in North America. Forests in the Global Balance � Changing Paradigms IUFRO, Vienna.
- Cashore, B. and McDermott, C. (2004) Global Environmental Forest Policies: Canada as a constant case comparison of select forest practice regulations. International Forest Resources, Victoria, BC.
- McDermott, C.L. (2003) Personal Trust and Trust in Abstract Systems: A study of Forest Stewardship Council-accredited forest certification in British Columbia. University of British Columbia, Vancouver. PhD Thesis.
- McDermott, C.L. and Hoberg, G. (2003) From State to Market: Forest Certification in Canada and the U.S. In, Beckley, T., Shindler, B. and Finley, M.C. (eds.) Two Paths Toward Sustainable Forests: Public Values in Canada and the United States. OSU Press, Corvallis.