AbstractsBusiness Management & Administration

Exploring Institutions, Governance and Collaboration for Regional Integration of Protected Areas in Québec

by Windekind Mr Buteau-Duitschaever

Institution: Wilfrid Laurier University
Year: 2016
Keywords: Parks; Conservation; Institutions; Management; Regional Integration; Planning; Protected Areas
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2132268
Full text PDF: http://scholars.wlu.ca/etd/1797


Abstract The concept of protected areas (PAs) has undergone important changes. The goals and purposes of PAs are to conserve animal and plant species, landscapes and ecological processes and to provide for outdoor recreation opportunities. PA management approaches have also undergone important changes. The once widely accepted doctrines of top-down management have been replaced by management models that include a diversity of actors. In some instances, actors are now sharing governing responsibilities with state representatives while in other instances central government has transferred rights, responsibilities and authority to lower levels of government and non-state actors for the planning and management of PAs. It is generally accepted that PAs should not be viewed as separate entities or ‘islands’ within their region. PAs are connected to their region through ecological processes, social interactions and economic activities. The process of regional integration is heavily influenced by contextual factors such as history, economy, governance and biophysical environments and individual actors’ ability to listen, respect others and compromise. In this study, regional integration is defined as a complex process that incorporates PA staff and regional actors through formal and informal institutional mechanisms in order to synchronize and address planning and management opportunities through the sharing of individual and shared goals. Approaches to PA management focus on understanding the institutions, both formal and informal, and governance processes that guide relationships between PAs and regional actors. These were examined with the goals to improve management practices and to contribute to the theory of regional integration of PAs. This qualitative study adopted a social constructivist epistemology, case study methodology and triangulated research methods (interviews, document analysis, participant observations and journaling). Three case studies located in the Province of Québec were selected: Mauricie Region, Saguenay Region, and Gaspésie Region. Additional site visits were also scheduled in Québec City and Montreal with large environmental non-government organizations and government officials. A total of 96 semi-structured interviews were completed with 99 actors from provincial and federal park and protected area agencies, provincial ministries, First Nations, resource industries, ENGOs and individual citizens. Each case study had both formal and informal institutions shaped by the regional contexts for integration and communication between PA staff and regional actors. The Mauricie region demonstrated a strong link between different regional actors in the PA planning process. Many participants indicated that there was almost no integration between the La Mauricie National Park and regional actors. The Gaspésie region had multiple perspectives regarding regional integration. Many participants indicated a positive shift regarding the way in which Forillon National Park staff interact with regional actors and…