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Clayoquot Sound: Lessons in ecosystem-based management implementation from an industry perspective

Gordon Butt, Don McMillan


In 1995, the Clayoquot Sound Scientific Panel submitted a report with 170 recommendations that fundamentally changed forest management as it had been traditionally practiced in the Sound. The Scientific Panel's report represents an early case study of ecosystem-based management (EBM) implementation. The recommendations were adopted by industry, government, and other participants with hopes that this would end the vociferous conflicts that had come to characterize Clayoquot Sound. British Columbia's Provincial government was committed to working with industry, First Nations, forest workers, and local communities to make the changes happen. However, the implementation was not accomplished easily or cheaply, and it was not an unmitigated success, at least from the perspective of industry. In addition to summarizing the history of the process, this article discusses outcomes of EBM implementation in Clayoquot Sound in terms of planning for environmental values before timber, using ecological rather than administrative boundaries, and engaging participants early and throughout the planning process. With emphasis on implications from an industry perspective, the authors recommend approaches that balance the strengths and challenges inherent in ecosystem-based management in British Columbia.


ecosystem-based management; forest management; forest planning; sustainable development

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