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Community-Based Ecosystem Management
Around the world, communities are calling for more control over the management of local natural resources. In many countries, governments are looking for ways to provide communities with greater authority, realizing that conventional forms of centralized management and regulation have failed to meet community needs and sustain local ecosystems. Community-based ecosystem management is increasingly recognized as a key element in any strategy to support community economic development and to protect critical ecosystems.
One of the main challenges of community-based ecosystem management in British Columbia is being able to support community goals while maintaining a significant role for provincial and federal governments. To address this challenge, POLIS has advocated for the creation of Community Ecosystem Trusts. The model provides a framework for the gradual transfer of control over local ecosystems and natural resources from central governments to the communities who live in, around, and with them. Under this model, communities are given much more responsibility for regulation, monitoring and enforcement of natural resource management and land tenure reform. And the government role shifts to one of facilitating communities to assume their responsibilities to ensure long-term sustainability. This form of ecological governance removes structural, legal and economic barriers to ecosystem-based community management and has major implications for Aboriginal title and treaty processes.
Related projects and initiatives
- Earth Law Centre, a California-based “think, share and do” organization that promotes the intrinsic value, interdependence, and legal rights of all Earth’s inhabitants and ecosystems, led by POLIS affiliate Linda Sheehan.
- Dogwood Initiative (formerly Forest Futures, founded by POLIS in 1999)
- BC Community Forestry Forum, co-sponsored by POLIS in March 2002, helped establish the BC Community Forest Association
- The Forest Act amendments and selection of the BC’s first community forests in 1998, oversight by POLIS Research Associate Fred Gale appointed by the BC Government
- The former International Network of Forests and Communities (INFC), founded by POLIS in 1998
- BC Coalition for Sustainable Forest Solutions, of which POLIS is a member
- Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group. POLIS worked with the HTG to explore alternatives to the land selection model for the BC treaty process in 2002. Hul’qumi’num Community Lands Study. Read Summary Report; and "Getting to 100 Percent: Challenges to Treaty-making on Hul’qumi’num Territory.” Read Workshop Summary.
- Campaign to Save Public Lands, co-sponsored by POLIS and Forest Futures in 1999
- Greater Victoria Land Use Forum: Victoria the Good? co-sponsored by POLIS in Nov 1995 to discuss participatory planning and zoning and re-zoning of local lands
- The Business of Good Forestry Conference, hosted by POLIS in Nov 1995 to explore sustainable forestry, appropriate technology and the concept of “good wood”
- When There’s a Way, There’s a Will: Developing Sustainability through the Community Ecosystem Trust, Report series (POLIS, 2001):
- Report 1 – When there's a Way there's a Will Report 1: Developing Sustainability through the Community Ecosystem Trust by M'Gonigle, Michael, Brian Egan, and Lisa Ambus (2001)
- Report 2 – When there's a Way there's a Will Report 2: Models of Community-Based Natural Resource Management by Brian Egan and Lisa Ambus (2001)
- Report 3 – When there's a Way there's a Will Report 3: Review of Provincial and Federal Legislation Related to Community-Based Natural Resource Management in British Columbia by Bryan Evans and David Boyd (2001)
- Non timber Forest Products: No Easy Answers – The Commercialization of Traditional Medicines, a learning tool co-developed by POLIS research associate Kelly Bannister (2004/05)
- Focus on Forests and Communities, a newspaper published by POLIS and distributed at the 1999 World Trade Organization meeting in
- Forests in Trust: Reforming BC’s Tenure system for Ecosystem and Community Health, includes 48 recommendations on forest land allocation (POLIS, 1997)
- Smart Growth on the Ground
- Draft Santa Monica Sustainability Bill of Rights Ordinance
Page last updated: 02/07/2013