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Research article2013Peer reviewed

Understanding 'successful' conflict resolution: Policy regime changes and new interactive arenas in the Great Bear Rainforest

Saarikoski, Heli; Raitio, Kaisa; Barry, Janice


The paper seeks to shed new light on both the dynamics and possibilities for resolving complex land use conflicts by examining the development of the Great Bear Rainforest (GBR) Agreement in British Columbia, Canada. This agreement signalled a major policy change in the region by increasing the protection of old growth forests from 9% to 33% of the total planning area and by promoting more environmentally friendly logging practices though the establishment of ecosystem-based management. It also gave rise to new land use planning relationships between the Province and First Nations. Our analysis shows that 'success' in reaching agreement in land use conflicts can be better understood when political science's work on policy regimes and their background conditions is combined with planning theory's work on deliberative processes. We suggest that collaborative planning theory can complement the policy regime approach by highlighting how process design and the interactions that occur within policy arenas provide the physical and organisational spaces for dialogue, collaboration and policy change. The policy regime approach, on the other hand, helps draws attention to the dynamics of policy processes and consequent changes in governance relations that motivate actors to work together, instead of against each other. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Collaborative environmental management; Land use conflicts; Policy regime approach; Forest policy; Deliberative planning; Environmental governance

Published in

Land Use Policy
2013, Volume: 32, pages: 271-280

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG12 Responsible consumption and production
    SDG15 Life on land
    SDG16 Peace, justice and strong institutions

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
    Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)