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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The community forest model and planning for ecological sustainability : exploring assumed synergies in Revelstoke, B.C. Aycock, Scott Lewis

Abstract

In response to the current "crisis in the British Columbia forest industry, communities, academics, non-profit organizations, and government agencies and departments are exploring alternative strategies for the management of the forested ecosystems of the province, and for maintaining livelihoods in forest-dependent communities. The focus of the thesis is one such strategy, community forestry, specifically the planning strategies and principles that the Revelstoke Community Forest Corporation utilizes in its management of local forests. Community forestry has been used world-wide to manage the interface between human communities and local forested ecosystems. In addition to various social and economic considerations, the community forest model has been posed by many in British Columbia as the most promising means to enhance the planning for ecological sustainability of forest-based communities, and of forestry in general. This assertion is based on a number of assumed benefits considered inherent to the community forest model. The thesis explores whether and how the following proposed ecological benefits of the community forest model have been actualized in the case study: 1) Community involvement with the forest will create a sense of care for and connection with local forests; 2) a closed circle of environmental, economic, and social costs and benefits will yield enhanced stewardship because the community must live with its decisions over the long term; 3) community members will recognize that the forest is more than a timber provider; they will have a "wholistic" appreciation of it; 4) forest planning will be improved by local ecological knowledge, local feedback loops, and administrative flexibility; together, these create the conditions for effective adaptive management; and 5) the above factors will lead to improved forest practices, ecologically speaking. The thesis shows how, in the Revelstoke case, these theorized benefits have not been fully realized. In concluding, the author suggests that local factors - such as community values, goals, an assumptions - could overwhelm any "inherent" benefits of the model in regards to ecological sustainability.

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