A key assumption underlying ecosystem management is that providing scientific information to decision-makers leads to better land use decisions. This research investigates the role of science, as well as other factors, in land use decision-making in the Columbia Mountains of British Columbia. The study grew out of an evaluation of the ecosystem management efforts of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier national parks. The study augments existing knowledge about the human dimensions of ecosystem management.
The methodology involves a mixed methods evaluation research approach, with an emphasis on stakeholder analysis. Both quantitative and qualitative data were gathered and analyzed, the latter using qualitative data analysis software. Results include an assessment of pertinent attitudes, beliefs, and values of 146 stakeholders who affect land use and research decisions in the Columbia Mountains.
The findings reveal that Mount Revelstoke and Glacier national parks have had a positive but limited effect on the ecological integrity of the Columbia Mountains of British Columbia. This is due partly to the environmental, political and economic context of the Columbia Mountains and partly due to weaknesses related to Parks Canada's inconsistent management practices, organizational culture, and internal/external communications. Strengths include the protected land base, protective mandate and staff expertise. The quality of the scientific and technical information conveyed by park staff is viewed highly, and opportunities exist to collaborate with provincial government agencies in research, land use planning, and education. Scientific information appears to affect significantly certain land use decisions in British Columbia, although successful application depends on specific conditions and effective communications strategies.
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