Doctor of Philosophy in Forestry (PhD)
Wildfire as a catalyst for co-management: Indigenous knowledge, stewardship and restoration of (post)fire landscapes in British Columbia
Shout-out to #GreatSupervisor @SES_UBC who's supportive, dedicated and always encourages me to think critically. Thanks for your mentorship!
Community-based conservation (CBC) approaches are complex governance spaces where diverse actors operating at multiple scales make decisions about and for local conservation. In this thesis, I explore CBC governance and decision-making in Kenya using multiple qualitative methods. First, I present a historical profile of Kenya’s national wildlife policy framework, identifying the events, ideologies and policies that led up to, and shaped the legal governance of CBC expression in Kenya today. This involved a comprehensive review of wildlife and conservation policy in Kenya from 1895-2016, focusing on a set of key governance attributes through the 120-year timeframe. Nine key informants participated in extended interviews to provide additional context and perspective to the 1200 pages of documents reviewed. Three insights relevant to understanding contemporary CBC in Kenya emerged from this analysis: (1) the continued expression of colonial relationships (2) the disproportional power of international conservation organizations (3) the tension between non-devolved national wildlife governance and the implementation of CBC. Second, to understand the expression of CBC at a local scale, I present analysis of governance structure, process, and the influence between scales of decision- making within the case study of Sera Community Conservancy in northern Kenya. During 13 months in the field, data was collected through: interviews (N=31), participant observation of meetings and decision-making settings (N=14), focus groups (N=4) with local elders and older women, as well as a review of over 400 pages of documents referencing governance process, NGO reports, and government legislation related to Sera Community Conservancy. Findings from this analysis are interpreted within a governance equity framework. Key insights include identifying the ways in which procedural equity is failing to function due to governance-related issues, including limiting the possibility of different knowledge holders to collaborate, systemic barriers to legitimate participation, and failure of transparent and effective communication. Overall, this thesis concludes that despite CBC’s objective of locally-informed decision making, local voices rarely influence outcomes at any scale of decision-making, while conservation NGOs disproportionally determine outcomes and priorities. This governance asymmetry constrains the value and undermines the legitimacy of local and indigenous knowledge, values, and practices within formal conservation in Kenya.
Collaborative planning in natural resource management involves a number of non-state actors and different institutions to make decisions that fall under the realm of governance. However, legitimacy, a quality considered necessary in successful governance, has not been thoroughly investigated empirically. This research examines the perceived importance of three different dimensions of legitimacy—representativeness, meaningfulness, and effectiveness—by actors in the Great Bear Rainforest (GBR) decision-making process and the perceived role of three institutions—shadow networks, bridging organizations, and boundary objects—in relation to the legitimacy of the GBR plan. Based on semi-structured interviews (N=17), this research provides an empirical investigation of the nuances of legitimacy in collaborative natural resource planning and the institutions involved in that planning from the perspective of those involved or otherwise affected by the GBR decision-making process. The results illustrate the importance of representing the different participants’ interests and values in the final outcome, trustworthy relationships to build accountability and ensure commitments, strategically using representation to ensure a fair and meaningful decision-making process, and using small groups of capable negotiators to ensure the different values and interests are included at the different levels of decision-making. These observations highlight the importance of not just representation, but meaningful engagement, of actors in negotiating processes. They also emphasize the importance of shadow networks for brainstorming alternative solutions and creating personal relationships; of bridging organizations to effectively represent and coordinate the interests of a collective of actors that do not always have the same goals; and of boundary objects to reflect the interests and values of actors, thereby ensuring effectiveness through commitment to implementation. Errata available at: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/70674