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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Legacies at Long Beach : sustainability and strategy in the Canadian Model Forest Program Davis, Emily Jane


The Canadian Model Forest Program began with the establishment of ten sites across the country in 1992 as part of the Green Plan for a Healthy Environment. With federal funding and direction, these were expected to mediate among local stakeholders, demonstrate best practices, and provide a forum for exchange of "cutting-edge" science and technology. My thesis surveys these policies through a focus on the Long Beach Model Forest in Clayoquot Sound, disbanded in 2002 and considered a failure. I examine how a certain application of what sustainable development meant federally interacted with the localized politics of places like Clayoquot. This meaning was shaped largely by Canada's efforts to present itself as a "model forest nation" in international environmental governance institutions such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests. Through textual analysis of Model Forest Program documentation at the local, provincial, and federal levels, and forest-oriented political economy, I conclude that large bureaucratic projects deploying "sustainability" at this time did indicate new ways in which the forest was known and ordered through techniques of governance, mapping, and ecosystem management. However, for communities on the front lines of the "war in the woods", these types of efforts often amounted to symbolic politics. The federal government continued to perform a neutral advocacy role and reinforce visions of objectivity within the bounded space of a model forest, even with regards to the social demands of sustainability. Rather than providing a simple narrative of failure in Long Beach, I emphasize the complexity and contingency inherent to its multistakeholder decision-making processes, especially the often-productive relations between members of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation and non-aboriginal communities in Clayoquot Sound.

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