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By: Benjamin Cashore
In recent years, the forests of British Columbia have become a battleground for sustainable resource development. The conflicts are ever present, usually pitting environmentalists against the forest industry and forestry workers and communities. In an effort to broker peace in the woods, British Columbia's NDP government launched a number of promising new forest policy initiatives in the 1990s.
In Search of Sustainability brings together a group of political scientists to examine this extraordinary burst of policy activism. Focusing on how much change has occurred and why, the authors examine seven components of BC forest policy: land use, forest practices, tenure, Aboriginal issues, timber supply, pricing, and jobs. Results of initiatives in these policy areas have been mixed. While environmental values have acquired a more central place in BC forest policy, they have not displaced timber production as the dominant force in policy making. Moreover, the authors conclude that despite the astonishing level of activism, the government's search for sustainability -- whether measured by environmental, social, economic, or political indicators -- has ultimately failed.
In Search of Sustainability is a lucid, provocative, and often sobering examination of a crucial period in the forest industry in a province where forestry remains a central plank of the provincial economy and where environmental pressures, both domestic and foreign, continue to escalate. Essential reading for scholars, teachers, and students of forestry and environmental policy, it will also appeal to anyone interested in the future of forestry both in British Columbia and beyond.
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