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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Private institutions for public interests : the land trust movement comes to British Columbia’s Fraser River delta Haigh, Caroline Elizabeth


This thesis evaluates how the management and protection of private lands in North America with important public values can be improved through the creation of a land trust: a private, non-profit, community-based institution with a mission to protect land. In particular, it draws attention to how private land conservation efforts can most effectively benefit from land trusts and government working in tandem to ensure long-term sustainable management and protection of the land and its vital functions. Preliminary chapters set out the theoretical context for this study. The literature is reviewed to identify the shortcomings of conventional land conservation efforts, specifically the difficulties behind protecting common pool resources and the inadequacies of government land-use management processes to overcome such difficulties. Secondly, literature pertaining to land trusts is surveyed to offer a descriptive overview of these increasingly popular institutions, including an analysis of their strengths and weaknesses. From this review, a set of criteria for conditions under which a land trust is likely to be successful is derived. Next, in case study format, private land conservation in the Fraser River delta of British Columbia is examined and the Delta Farmland & Wildlife Trust is evaluated against the set of criteria developed from the literature. On the basis of the findings of the case study, it is concluded that this community-driven land trust has the potential to resolve impasses and overcome antagonisms to advance a shared vision of the future that protects Delta's interdependent values. Finally, recommendations are offered for improving the endeavors of the Delta Farmland & Wildlife Trust and more generally for facilitating the adoption of more effective and viable land trusts across North America. A case is made for enhancing public/private collaboration to integrate the strengths that both land trusts and government bring to land conservation.

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