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Institutional thickening and innovation: reflections on the remapping of the Great Bear Rainforest

Clapp, Alex; Hayter, Roger; Affolderbach, Julia; Guzman, Laura


Alex Clapp

Roger Hayter

Julia Affolderbach

Laura Guzman


The information, practices and views in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). © 2016 Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) As a response to forest conflict, contemporary remapping refers to re-evaluations of resource values, new and diverse forms of governance among stakeholders, and compromises within patterns of land use that give greater emphasis to environmental and cultural priorities. This paper elaborates the processes of remapping by examining the role of institutional innovation in conflict resolution, with particular reference to the iconic Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia. After years of conflict and protest, peace in the Great Bear Rainforest was heralded by an interim agreement in 2006, with final ratification likely in 2016. Conceptually, a four-legged stakeholder model identifies the main institutional interests and their interactions through learning and bargaining. New forms of governance were created to bring the stakeholders together in constructive dialogue and then to reach and implement acceptable bargains. Analytically, the paper examines how this agreement has worked in practice by reflecting on the emergence of novel institutions that integrate the interests of key stakeholders. The discussion identifies six bilateral negotiations between: industrial and environmental interests; federal and provincial governments and aboriginal peoples; government and environmental interests; government and industry; industry and aboriginal peoples; and environmental groups and local communities. The remapping process has produced a thickening architecture of institutions that remain experimental even as they seek to promote sustainability, resilience and legitimacy.


Clapp, A., Hayter, R., Affolderbach, J., & Guzman, L. (2016). Institutional thickening and innovation: reflections on the remapping of the Great Bear Rainforest. Transactions - Institute of British Geographers, 41(3), 244-257.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 1, 2016
Online Publication Date Mar 24, 2016
Publication Date 2016-07
Deposit Date Mar 14, 2016
Publicly Available Date Mar 27, 2018
Journal Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Print ISSN 0020-2754
Electronic ISSN 1475-5661
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 41
Issue 3
Pages 244-257
Keywords Boundary organization; Ecosystem-based management; Great Bear Rainforest; Institutional thickness; Remapping; Stakeholder model
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is the accepted manuscript of an article published in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 2016. The version of record is available at the DOI link in this record.


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