The history of forests regulation and institutional policy in Cameroon dates back to the erstwhile colonial period (1884–1961) when the German, British, and French administrations setup administrative and managerial entities to regulate the forest sector. The post-colonial administration continued with the colonial era regulations until 1981 when a new forest law was adopted. Cameroon's forest sector went through a reform process in 1994 with the enactment of a comprehensive forestry law linking the forest sector with a network of subsectors. This paper employs the case of Cameroon's forest policy reform process to respond to three logical research questions on the effects of sectoral and subsectoral forces on forest policy related issues: (1) what differentiates a critical subsector from a non-critical one? (2) does a stable sectoral network represent a successful takeover bid by a critical subsectoral one? (3) what are the conditions under which sectors can continue to affect subsectors? A structured literature search to identify the appropriate and related information specific to Cameroon's forest sector was carried out using two electronic databases — Web of Science and Google Scholar — relevant to the topic of forest policy change and policy subsystems. Articles from three types of sources were considered: primary source (original researcher(s) of study), secondary source (review articles), and conceptual/theoretical sources (theories and concepts related to forest policy). A total of 136 articles were reviewed and appraised. The analysis in this paper concentrates on structural power within the forest sector and the public domain in Cameroon. The paper illustrates the sectoral-subsectoral concept by analyzing actors' relationships and power configurations, problematizing the role played by different actors in the decision-making process in the forest sector in Cameroon. The paper aims to broaden understanding of the effects of sectoral and subsectoral forces and configuration on forest policy development and change in Cameroon.
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Vol. 19 • No. 2