, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 299–309 | Cite as

Bioenergy development and the implications for the social wellbeing of Indigenous peoples in Canada

  • Melanie ZurbaEmail author
  • Ryan Bullock
Research Article


In this article, we focus on wellbeing as an important concept relating to bioenergy development in Canada. We use a three-dimensional or social approach to understanding wellbeing, which includes subjective and relational aspects in addition to the more traditional material dimension of wellbeing (e.g. financial resources, a healthy environment). Indigenous business leaders engaged in forestry, energy, and related resource sectors were recruited through our partner organization, the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, as a representative sample of key people to be engaged in the scoping of existing and future bioenergy partnerships in Canada. Participants often responded in ways that did not discretely fit into categories, but instead reflected a perspective on their own and their community’s dimensions of social wellbeing, which we captured through open coding for emergent themes. Our findings on material wellbeing illustrate that relationships between different wellbeing dimensions need to be considered for community-appropriate bioenergy development.


Bioenergy Indigenous partnerships Renewable energy Social wellbeing 



This work was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada (#872-2016-1036), SSHRC Canada Research Chair in Human-Environmental Interactions (950-231641), and BiofuelNet Canada (#SO-3-Bullock). In-kind support was provided by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. The authors thank the study participants for sharing their knowledge. Thanks also to our capable research assistants, Shannon Ganter and Miranda Hamilton. Any errors or omissions are our own.

Supplementary material

13280_2019_1166_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (161 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 162 kb)


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School for Resource and Environmental Studies and the College of SustainabilityDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.Environmental Studies and SciencesThe University of WinnipegWinnipegCanada

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