Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Environmental Studies (MES)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

D. Scott Slocombe

Advisor Role

Thesis Advisor


As a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity, Canada has committed to help protect biodiversity through an increase in effectively and equitably managed systems of protected areas (PAs) by 2020. If Canada fulfills this commitment, the country will see the largest expansion of PA networks in its history. Although employing ‘equitable and effective management’ suggests PAs have a responsibility to consider their effects on local stakeholders, on the whole, Canada’s PA agencies do not publicly and systematically report on their jurisdictions’ local economic impacts. To address this gap, this thesis aims investigate mechanisms for PA agencies to identify and consider ecological-economic intersections within their regions, in order to inform approaches for PA managers to conduct community consultations related to their impacts. Twenty-seven participants from municipalities in the Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve used mapping activities, surveys and interviews to identify features they perceived to economically impact their area and wellbeing. Participants reported that tourism and agriculture were important to the economic fabric of the region; that activities involving wildlife (i.e. fishing and wildlife viewing) and the region’s cultural diversity helped generate local tourism; and that Riding Mountain National Park’s management decisions had varying effects, but tended to hold greater benefits for jurisdictions closer to the park’s central administration. The results underscored the importance of approaching stakeholder relationships geographically, since the impacts of decisions made by PA managers are felt differently among locals depending on their location around the PA boundary. To maintain constructive relationships between PAs and their local stakeholders, it is recommended that PA administrations undertake systematic community ii consultations accompanied by subsequent self-reporting. It is further recommended that efforts be made to incorporate maps into community consultation processes.

Convocation Year