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Benefits of collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities through community forests in British Columbia

Pinkerton, Evelyn
Canadian journal of forest research 2019 v.49 no.4 pp. 387-394
collaborative management, decision making, forests, governance, models, British Columbia
When the Government of British Columbia (BC) introduced the Community Forest Agreement Program in 1998, it permitted a range of governance structures to allow flexibility and to learn which structures might be most appropriate for this new form of forest tenure. One structure that became fairly common was collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. This paper characterizes and analyzes the advantages of this collaborative governance model in three ways, identifying (1) what benefits this model entails, (2) how these are illustrated in three different community forests, and (3) how these forms of collaboration fit into a co-management spectrum. Because some of these benefits involve communities having greater degrees of power in forest governance, the model invites a consideration of the types of decision-making power experienced by Indigenous communities partnering or collaborating in BC community forests, as well as the types and range of benefits for all parties emerging from these collaborations. Fourteen indicators of the benefits of collaboration are identified, building on the discovery of five new benefits heretofore unrecognized in the literature. These understandings permit a more nuanced assessment of this particular type of co-management, leading to the generation of three new, broader hypotheses regarding the conditions that support co-management.