Assessing approaches to climate-change-related policy formulation in British Columbia's forest sector: The case of the mountain pine beetle epidemic


  • Adam M. Wellstead
  • Debra Davidson
  • Richard C. Stedman


British Columbia, climate change, forest management, mountain pine beetle epidemic, policy process frameworks


A growing literature considers how the forest management community will have to adapt to future climate change impacts. Recently in this journal, Spittlehouse and Stewart presented a framework for planning adaptive actions to address forest-related climate change issues. This paper expands on that framework by discussing five policy process approaches that might be used to implement such actions. The policy community approach outlines the complex configuration of policy actors. The policy network approach examines the relationships between those actors on particular issues. The advocacy coalition framework attempts to measure policy change by taking into account the competing policy-oriented belief structures. Agenda setting considers how issues get the attention of politicians. The punctuated equilibrium model attempts to explain how rapid change in government policy direction can alternate with long periods of stability. The authors conclude that understanding the policy process and how recommended policy changes will be realized is as important as identifying issues and the need for change. Examples from the application of these frameworks to British Columbia's mountain pine beetle infestation are highlighted throughout the paper.