Integrating communities into ecosystem-based management

Date created: 
Indigenous communities
Ecosystem-based management
Great Bear Rainforest
Spatial analysis
Historical data, cultural resources

Designing a system of ecosystem-based management (EBM) requires a context dependent understanding of landscape patterns across space and time. Hence for distinct social-ecological systems grappling with developing new policies to support EBM, researchers and planners need to think critically about the types of data sources and analytical approaches that are most appropriate for a specific situation. In this thesis, I describe my research in the Great Bear Rainforest on the coast of British Columbia, Canada, that involves collaborations with six different First Nation communities. I incorporate data with a historical or Indigenous context to assess and develop novel approaches for spatial analysis and EBM planning. This research was coproduced with Indigenous communities and aims to bring together disparate disciplines and knowledge systems. For example, first, I show that using species distribution models of western redcedar trees developed from combining field surveys and archaeological records can help predict the spatial extent and understand the past distribution of an important biocultural resource with rapidly shifting baseline conditions. Second, I show that using traditional ecological knowledge to refine categories of trees used by Indigenous carvers can change estimates of abundance and thus alter the resulting targets for an intergenerational stewardship strategy. Third, I show that forest harvesting on the central coast of BC, Canada has sequentially targeted the most productive and accessible components of the environment and that policy interventions can disrupt these trends. Fourth, I show that past spatial planning to design a system of landscape reserves significantly exceeded the associated conservation targets and that human and ecological factors affected the overall reserve design. Collectively, this research develops new approaches for using community and historical data in EBM planning and highlights the importance of collaborating with communities to address theoretical and applied research questions.

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This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
Ken Lertzman
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.