UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Resilient governance : the politics of nature protection in New Zealand, Norway and Canada's British Columbia Feditchkina Tracy, Elena


The degradation and collapse of the Earth’s ecosystems poses a formidable risk for humanity. Yet the effectiveness of political commitments to halt the irreversible loss of species and habitats remains critically low. The key challenge is to make the tough collective political decisions and then to follow through with real actions, despite often extreme resistance. What are the institutional mechanisms that can help increase the likelihood of the successful implementation of nature protection goals? Is decentralized, local-level governance more resilient in eventually meeting established nature protection goals than a centralized one? In attempting to answer these questions, this dissertation will rely on a qualitative analysis of nature protection policies carried out in New Zealand, Norway and British Columbia (Canada) between 1990 and 2012. In the final analysis the research will suggest the following. First, it appears that when dealing with protecting ecoregions defined by high opportunity costs, decentralized governance has very significant limitations that cannot be overcome without political coordination occurring at a higher-level. Among the most important factors for a meaningful adoption and gradual implementation is overcoming the initial discrepancy between the costs and benefits of conservation policies dividing the city and the countryside. A centralized governance offers distinct advantage in terms of bridging the divide between the countryside and the city and ensuring social partnership and cohesion between urban and rural populations over nature protection goals. Overall, resilient nature protection governance is likely to be centralized but one which allows the input of local stakeholders in both decision-making and especially at the stage of implementation. In addition, having open public access to land resources, including over privately owned lands, increases the likelihood of the implementation of conservation policies.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada