A Participatory Approach to Evaluating Strategies for Forest Carbon Mitigation in British Columbia Peterson St-Laurent, Guillaume; Hoberg, George; Sheppard, Stephen R. J.
To be successful, actions for mitigating climate change in the forest and forest sector will not only need to be informed by the best available science, but will also require strong public and/or political acceptability. This paper presents the results of a novel analytical-deliberative engagement process that brings together stakeholders and Indigenous Peoples in participatory workshops in the interior and coastal regions of British Columbia (BC) to evaluate a set of potential forest carbon mitigation alternatives. In particular, this study examines what objectives are prioritized by stakeholders and Indigenous Peoples when discussing forest carbon mitigation in BC’s forests, as well as the perceived effectiveness of, and levels of support for, six forest-based carbon mitigation strategies. We start by describing the methodological framework involving two series of workshops. We then describe the results from the first round of workshops where participants identified 11 objectives that can be classified into four categories: biophysical, economic, social, and procedural. Afterwards, we discuss the second series of workshops, which allowed participants to evaluate six climate change mitigation strategies against the objectives previously identified, and highlight geographical differences, if any, between BC’s coastal and interior regions. Our results effectively illustrate the potential and efficacy of our novel methodology in informing a variety of stakeholders in different regions, and generating consistent results with a surprising degree of consensus on both key objectives and preference for mitigation alternatives. We conclude with policy recommendations on how to consider various management objectives during the design and implementation of forest carbon mitigation strategies.
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