The potential for community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) affiliated with BC's Protected Area System




Rozwadowska, Anna

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) related to protected areas (PAs) originated in the 1980’s in Zimbabwe, Africa, in the buffer zone communities of Africa’s National Parks. CBNRM attempted to address the problems associated with colonial, protectionist style ‘fence and guns’ conservation management approaches, which excluded resource-based communities from conservation areas. CBNRM attempts to meet the biodiversity conservation objectives of conservation areas, and the sustainable development and livelihood objectives of neighbouring communities. While CBNRM initiatives have been well documented internationally over the past decades, little is known about the status of CBNRM within Canada. In order to bridge this knowledge gap and to link trends in conservation and protected areas management internationally to Canada and to British Columbia (BC), this thesis examines the potential for community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) affiliated with BC's Protected Area System. “Potential” is determined by comparing the situation in BC to the international CBNRM experience. The study draws on a sample of Conservancies from the categories of the BC Protected Area (PA) System, focusing particularly on the nine Sea-to-Sky Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP) Area Conservancies and neighbouring First Nations communities: Squamish, L’il’wat and In-SHUCK-ch. Information has been obtained through interviews (guided by semi-structured questionnaires) conducted with BC government informants and First Nations representatives, supplemented by key documents. The questionnaire examined the potential for CBNRM according to a.) the community's perspective: potential (costs and) benefits of the protected area, including goods and services, cultural and social benefits and sustainable economic development opportunities provided by the protected area; and benefits of community involvement in natural resource management and protected area governance; and b.) the conservation perspective: benefits through community cooperation in biodiversity conservation within the targeted protected area. Other factors that have been identified through the international experience to affect CBNRM initiatives, such as use regulation; tenure; policies and legislation; awareness of and support for the protected area; and community capacity were thoroughly examined across all sources of information. This study finds that there is potential for CBNRM affiliated with the BC PA system in protected area designations such as ‘Conservancies’. Potential relates to the role of CBNRM in biodiversity conservation, meeting the aspirations of BC’s First Nations communities, and in recognizing First Nations as legitimate stakeholders in protected areas and conservation management. As in the international experience, numerous social, political, economic and other factors present opportunities and challenges to the adoption of CBNRM in BC. This thesis concludes with key recommendations for protected areas and conservation management in BC and Canada and identifies opportunities to further explore key topic areas that arose from the research findings.



CBNRM, community-based natural resource management, protected areas management, community based conservation, BC First Nations, BC Protected Area System, Support zone communities, Buffer zone communities, conservation and development, BC Conservancies, Squamish Nation, L'il'wat Nation, In-SHUCK-ch Nation, environmental sociology, conservation management