The contributions of social learning to collaborative forest governance in Canada and Uganda: Lessons from forest-based communities
Collaborative forest governance is viewed as promising for sustainable forestry because it allows forest-based communities to participate directly in management activities and benefit from resource use or protection. Forest-based communities are important because they provide contextual knowledge about the forestry resources being managed. Collaborative forest governance can be strengthened through social learning. Despite significant research on social learning in environmental governance, it is not clear how social learning evolves over time, who has access to social learning opportunities, who influences social learning, and whether learning influences management effectiveness. This study investigated the contributions of social learning to collaborative forest governance in two forest-based organizations: Harrop-Procter Community Forest in Canada, and Kapeka Integrated Conservation Development Agency in Uganda. Data were collected using personal interviews, key person interviews, focus group meetings, and participant observation. Results revealed that in both organizations, participants started engaging in forest management with limited information and learned as they engaged in various activities. In addition, for both organizations, government set the context for what was learned through forest policy. Nevertheless, learning was influenced by the governance structure chosen in the Canadian case whereas learning was influenced by non-governmental organizations in the Ugandan case. As the Canadian organization became effective at complying with forestry legislation over time, learning opportunities and outcomes became more restricted, especially for women. Meanwhile at the Ugandan organization, learning opportunities and outcomes remained restricted for illiterate people irrespective of their gender. In conclusion, this study’s findings suggest that the prevalent view that social learning increases collaboration and collective action in forest resource management cannot be assumed.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
DepartmentSchool of Environment and Sustainability
ProgramEnvironment and Sustainability
SupervisorReed, Maureen G.
CommitteeSinclair, John A.; Barrett, Mary-Jean; Johnson, Mark; Rayner, Jeremy
Copyright DateAugust 2015
collaborative forest governance
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