Factors of resiliency for forest communities in transition in British Columbia


  • Chris Joseph School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University
  • Ajit Krishnaswamy Forrex/SFU




adaptability, community resiliency, factors of resiliency, forest-dependent communnities, indicators of resiliency, transition


Many forest-dependent communities in British Columbia continue to make the transition away from a heavy economic reliance on the forest sector to a more diversified economy. Although some communities are succeeding with this transition, many are not. To better understand why this is happening, we reviewed the literature on “community resiliency.” This concept has emerged as the focus of those concerned with the sustainability of communities dependent on natural resources. From the literature review, we identified 15 resiliency factors that contribute to successful transitions. Many of these are related to resources (e.g., financial and natural resources, human and social capital) and power (e.g., local control over enterprise and policy). Some factors may require development (e.g., attitude and high quality planning), while others may require creative and innovative solutions (e.g., geography and availability of natural resources). For communities undergoing transition, we recommend that decision makers and community leaders assess their community’s resiliency by examining these 15 factors. We suggest that all resiliency factors contribute to successful transitions. Attention to some factors at the expense of others may be a poor strategy for successful transitions. We also present examples of indicators that could be used to assess community resiliency and provide guidance on selecting and constructing indicators. Most of the identified resiliency factors relate to adaptability. Sustaining forest-dependent communities is primarily about accepting change and addressing it through adaptation. We therefore suggest that rural communities in British Columbia focus more on enhancing their adaptive capacity.

Author Biographies

Chris Joseph, School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University

PhD Candidate, School of Resource and Environmental Management

Ajit Krishnaswamy, Forrex/SFU

Socio-economics Extension Specialist, FORREX




Discussion Papers