Dimensions of power in forest resource decision-making : a case study of Nova Scotia's forest conservation legislation
This study identifies power relationships within forest conservation decision-making in Nova Scotia, Canada. Rather than rely on the ‘customary science’ of resource conservation largely based on biological and physical parameters, this analysis is steeped in the traditions of social science and policy analysis. This study’s central focus is the Forest Improvement Act (FIA): 1962-1986. Forest conservation policies and legislative initiatives developed prior to FIA enactment such as the Small Tree Act (STA): 1942 - 1965 are treated in this study as the FIA’s policy gestation period. Theoretical and practical insights derived from this pre-FIA period are used in the assessment of the FIA and these combined understandings are subsequently applied to the analysis of contemporary forest conservation policy. For contemporary analysis, six case studies including the Nova Scotia Envirofor process and the St. Mary’s River Landscape and Ecology Management proposal, as well as a recent provincial government initiative are examined. This study utilises a broad range of decision-making and resource management theory to tease out understandings of the particular character of the policy process. The analysis utilises various decision-making models, theories of power, and multi-agency decision making models as well as the Environmental Modernisation literature developed by Turner, O’Riordan and Weale and others. In addition to the investigative methodologies used generally throughout this study, the Envirofor and the St. Mary’s case studies employed a ‘participant observer’ approach that provided otherwise unavailable insights into these conservation initiatives. Regardless of policy content, this study shows that external forces such as woodfibre markets were key to the implementation of ground level forest conservation. Ironically, this study links the renewal of forest conservation legislation to the demand for increased forest exploitation. New forest policy initiatives were as much to do with pacifying conservation interests as they were about promoting ground level forest conservation.