Human Ecology

, 39:627 | Cite as

Adaptive Co-Management and Grizzly Bear-Human Conflicts in Two Northern Canadian Aboriginal Communities

  • Douglas Andrew ClarkEmail author
  • Scott Slocombe


It has been postulated that the emergence of adaptive co-management can be driven by crises that transform social-ecological systems with low resilience. We compared two concurrent case studies of grizzly bear-human conflicts in northern Canada to assess whether such crises could effect such transformations in bear-human systems. We conclude that they can, evaluate the outcomes, and identify conditions that may explain these observations. For remote communities, horizontal and vertical institutional connections are important for facilitating learning and the integration of information in wildlife management, yet they can be difficult to establish. Events in Baker Lake, Nunavut, showed that without such connections local peoples’ substantial ecological knowledge may not be integrated effectively into decision processes. In the Inuvialuit Settlement Region the quota system for grizzly bear harvests has been able to successfully incorporate both scientific and traditional ecological knowledge, largely because of its cross-scale institutional network. The leadership provided by individual champions was also an important determinant of both case studies’ outcomes.


Adaptive co-management Grizzly bear Inuit Inuvialuit North slope Northwest territories Nunavut Traditional ecological knowledge Ursus arctos Yukon 



Financial support for this research was provided by The Canon National Parks Science Scholars Program, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Wilfrid Laurier University, Mountain Equipment Co-op’s Environment Fund, the Northern Scientific Training Program of the Canadian Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, a TransCanada Pipelines Graduate Award, Yukon College’s Northern Research Institute, and the Aurora Research Institute. The Baker Lake HTO, Aklavik HTC, and the Inuvialuit Joint Secretariat were helpful sources of insight and support. Inuktitut translation was provided by Betsy Aksawnee, Sally Ikuutaq, and Hattie and Tom Mannik, of Baker Lake: Matna to Hattie and Tom, and also to Paula Hughsen for all your generous hospitality and assistance understanding Inuit life. We are grateful to all the study participants who shared their knowledge so freely, as well as our student transcribers and the many other people and organizations who supported this work. Figure 1 was produced by Pam Schaus, Cartographer, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Geography and Environmental StudiesWilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada

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