Doctor of Philosophy in Forestry (PhD)
Wildfire: Building Socially and Ecologically Resilient Communities in the British Columbia Interior
Shout-out to #GreatSupervisor @SES_UBC who's supportive, dedicated and always encourages me to think critically. Thanks for your mentorship!
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.