Governance of private protected areas in Canada : advancing the public interest?




Hannah, Linda Ellen

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In Canada, little is known about the governance of private protected areas (PPAs) and their contribution to the public interest. This dissertation evaluates the extent to which PPAs in Canada adhere to generally advanced principles of good governance - Direction, Legitimacy, Fairness, Performance and Accountability - and it assesses their contribution to the public interest. Findings from descriptive analysis of six case studies of Individual, Corporate, Non-Government and First Nation authorities indicate that principles are adhered to with relative vigor and visibility and that the public interest is generally advanced. The governance pattern is not strongly differentiated and it is generally uniform in strengths and limitations. The cases studied were exceptionally strong in fulfilling the principles of Direction and Legitimacy. Management documents not only employed long-term, ecosystem-based approaches, the private areas were shaped by the collaboration and support of a diverse array of interested parties. Public participatory processes remain relatively ad hoc in nature. Issues management occurred in each of the private areas studied. There was no evidence, however, of intractable disputes, suggesting that the principle of Fairness was fulfilled. The principle of Performance was determined to be the weakest across the sector. Generally, appropriate standards are not well defined, monitoring is highly fragmented and there is an absence of reporting on performance outcomes, which creates uncertainty about the standing of protection and conservation values. Accountability is multi-dimensional: accountability to different stakeholders for various goals and activities through different mechanisms is salient. Independent oversight is employed infrequently. Findings also reveal subscription to a broad spectrum of protected area values that are achieved through moral. fiduciary and legal means. The desire to pass along a natural legacy to future generations is a leading feature. Formally expressed values that are widely shared include protection of ecosystems and biological diversity. Public access is generally constrained. Protection in perpetuity is most often guaranteed through instruments that impose obligations upon future land owners. Support for strengthened governance processes and structures would further the complementary role and contribution that this sector can make to the important mission that protected areas seek to accomplish.



protected areas, right of property, Canada