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.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
ACIA (2004). Impacts of a warming Arctic: arctic climate impact assessment. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Adams, W. A., and Hulme, D. (2001). Community conservation: From concept to practice. Pages 24–37 in D. Hulme, and M. Murphree, editors. African wildlife and livelihoods: The promise and performance of community conservation. James Currey, Oxford, UK.
Armitage, D. R., and Clark, D. (2005). Patterns, currents, boundaries and scales: Framing an applied research agenda for integrated oceans resource management in Canada’s north. In Berkes, F., Fast, H., Manseau, M., and Diduck, A. (eds.), Breaking ice: renewable resource and ocean management in the Canadian north. University of Calgary/Arctic Institute of North America, Calgary, pp. 337–362.
Armitage, D. R., Berkes, F., and Doubleday, N. (eds.) (2007). Adaptive co-management: collaboration, learning, and multi-level governance. University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver.
Armitage, D. R., Marschke, M., and Plummer, R. (2008). Adaptive co-management and the paradox of learning. Global Environmental Change 18(10): 86–98.
Armitage, D. R., Plummer, R., Berkes, F., Arthur, R. I., Charles, A. T., Davidosn-Hunt, I., Diduck, A. P., Doubleday, N., Johnson, D. S., Marschke, M., McConney, P., Pinkerton, E. W., and Wollenberg, E. K. (2009). Adaptive co-management for social-ecological complexity. Frontiers in Ecology and Environment: 7(2): 95–102.
Ball, J., and Janyst, P. (2008). Enacting research ethics in partnerships with indigenous communities in Canada: “Do it in a Good Way”. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics 3(2): 33–51.
Berkes, F. (1998). Indigenous knowledge and resource management systems in the Canadian subarctic. In Berkes, F., and Folke, C. (eds.), Linking social and ecological systems: Management practices and social mechanisms for building resilience. Island Press, Washington, DC, pp. 98–128.
Berkes, F. (1999). Sacred ecology: Traditional ecological knowledge and resource management. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Berkes, F., George, P. and Preston, R. J. (1991). Co-management: The evolution in theory and practice of the joint administration of living resources. Alternatives 18: 12–18.
Berkes, F. (2004). Rethinking community-based conservation. Conservation Biology 18: 621–630.
Berkes, F. (2007). Adaptive co-management and complexity: exploring the many faces of co-management. In Armitage, D., Berkes, F., and Doubleday, N. (eds.), Adaptive co-management: collaboration, learning, and multi-level governance. University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver, pp. 19–37.
Berkes, F., Bankes, N., Marschke, M., Armitage, D., and Clark, D. (2005). Cross-scale institutions and building resilience in the Canadian north. In Berkes, F., Fast, H., Manseau, M., and Diduck, A. (eds.), Breaking ice: Renewable resource and ocean management in the Canadian north. University of Calgary/Arctic Institute of North America, Calgary, pp. 225–247.
Birkland, T. (1997). After Disaster: Agenda Setting, Public Policy, and Focusing events. Georgetown University Press, Washington DC.
Brook, R. K., and McLachlan, S. M. (2005). On using expert-based science to “test” local ecological knowledge. Ecology and Society 10(2) 3. Available at: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol10/iss2/resp3/ [May 2011].
Brower, C. D., Carpenter, A., Branigan, M. L., Calvert, W., Evans, T., Fischbach, A. S., et al. (2002). The polar bear management agreement for the southern Beaufort Sea: An evaluation of the first ten years of a unique conservation agreement. Arctic 55(4): 362–372.
Caine, K. J., Davison, C. M., and Stewart, E. J. (2009). Preliminary field-work: methodological reflections from northern Canadian research. Qualitative Research 9(4): 489–513.
Carlsson, L., and Berkes, F. (2005). Co-management: Concepts and methodological implications. Journal of Environmental Management 75: 65–76.
Ciarniello, L. (1996). Human-bear conflict in British Columbia: Draft discussion paper. BC Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, Victoria.
Clark, D. A. (2000). Recent reports of grizzly bears, Ursus arctos, in northern Manitoba. Canadian Field-Naturalist 114: 692–696.
Clark, D. A. (2007). Local and regional-scale societal dynamics in grizzly bear conservation. Ph.D. Dissertation. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University.
Clark, T. W. (2002). The policy process: A practical guide for natural resource Professionals. Yale University Press, New Haven.
COSEWIC (2002). COSEWIC status report on the grizzly bear Ursus arctos in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, Ottawa, ON.
Craighead, F. (1979). Track of the grizzly. Sierra Club Books, San Francisco.
Craighead, J. J., Sumner, J. S., and Mitchell, J. A. (1995). The grizzly bears of Yellowstone: Their ecology in the Yellowstone ecosystem, 1959–1992. Island Press, Washington DC.
Dowsley, M. (2007). Inuit Perspectives on Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus) and Climate Change in Baffin Bay, Nunavut, Canada. Research and Practice in Social Sciences 2(2): 53–74.
Fabricius, C., Folke, C., Cundill, G., and Schultz, L. (2007). Powerless spectators, coping actors, and adaptive co-managers: a synthesis of the role of communities in ecosystem management. Ecology and Society 12(1): 29. Available at: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol12/iss1/art29/ [May 2011].
Fennell, D., Plummer, R., and Marschke, M. (2008). Is adaptive co-management ethical? Journal of Environmental Management 88(1): 62–75.
Fletcher, C. (2001). Community-based participatory research relationships with Aboriginal communities in Canada. Pimatziwin 1(1): 27–62.
Folke, C., Carpenter, S., Elmqvist, T., Gunderson, L., Holling, C.S., Walker, B., Bengtsson, J., Berkes, F., Colding, J., Danell, K., Falkenmark, M., Gordon, L., Kasperson, R., Kautsky, N., Kinzig, A., Levin, S., Goran-Mäler, K., Moberg, F., Ohlsson, L., Olsson, O., Ostrom, E., Reid, W., Rockström, J., Savenjie, H. and Svedin, U. (2002). Resilience and Sustainable Development: Building Adaptive Capacity in a World of Transformations. Scientific Background Paper on Resilience for the Process of the World Summit on Sustainable Development on behalf of the Environmental Advisory Council to the Swedish Government. Available at: http://www.sou.gov.se/mvb/pdf/resiliens.pdf [May 11 2011].
Folke, C., Hahn, T., Olsson, P., and Norberg, J. (2005). Adaptive governance of social – ecological systems. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 30: 441–473.
Folke, C., Carpenter, S. R., Walker, B., Scheffer, M., Chapin, T. and Rockstrom, J. (2010). Resilience thinking: integrating resilience, adaptability and transformability. Ecology and Society 15(4): 20. Available at: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol15/iss4/art20/ [May 2011].
Gearheard, S., and Shirley, J. (2007). Challenges in community-research relationships: Learning from natural science in Nunavut. Arctic 60(1): 62–74.
Georgette, S. (2001). Brown bears on the northern Seward Peninsula, Alaska: Traditional knowledge and subsistence uses in Deering and Shishmaref. Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Subsistence, Juneau.
Government of Nunavut. (2001). Officials continue to monitor grizzly bear activity (press release). Government of Nunavut, Department of Sustainable Development, Iqaluit.
Gunderson, L. H. (2000). Ecological resilience- in theory and application. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 31: 425–439.
Gunderson, L., and Holling, C. S. (eds.) (2002). Panarchy: Understanding transformations in human and natural systems. Island Press, Washington DC.
Gwich’in Renewable Resource Board (2002). Management agreement for grizzly bears in the Gwich’in settlement area. GWRRB, Inuvik.
Haroldson, M. A., Schwartz, C. C., Cherry, S., and Moody, D. (2004). Possible effects of elk harvest on fall distribution of grizzly bears in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Journal of Wildlife Management 68(1): 129–137.
Harrington, C. R., MacPherson, A. H., and Kelsall, J. P. (1962). The barren ground grizzly bear in northern Canada. Arctic 15: 294–298.
Herrero, S. (1970). Human injury inflicted by grizzly bears. Science 170: 593–598.
Herrero, S. (1985). Bear attacks: Their causes and avoidance. Winchester Press, Piscataway.
Herrero, S., and Fleck, S. (1990). Injury to people inflicted by black, grizzly or polar bears: Recent trends and new insights. International Conference on Bear Research and Management 8: 25–32.
Herrero, J., and Herrero, S. (1997). Visitor safety in polar bear viewing activities in the Churchill region of Manitoba, Canada. Bios Environmental Research and Planning Associates Ltd., Calgary.
Herrero, S., Smith, T., DeBruyn, T. D., Gunther, K., and Matt, C. A. (2005). Brown bear habituation to people- safety, risks, and benefits. Wildlife Society Bulletin 33(1): 362–373.
Holling, C. S. (1978). Adaptive environmental assessment and management. John Wiley and Sons, New York
Holling, C. S., and Meffe, G. K. (1996). Command and control and the pathology of natural resource management. Conservation Biology 10: 328–337.
Huntington, H. (1998). Observations on the utility of the semi-directed interview for documenting traditional ecological knowledge. Arctic 51: 237–242.
Huntington, H. P., Trainor, S. F., Natcher, D. C., Huntington, O. H., DeWilde, L., and Chapin III, F. Stuart. (2006). The significance of context in community-based research: Understanding discussions about wildfire in Huslia, Alaska. Ecology and Society, 11(1). Available at: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol11/iss1/art40/ [May 2011].
Inuvialuit Game Council (2002). Annual report, 2001–2002. Inuvialuit Game Council, Inuvik.
ITK and NRI. (2007). Negotiating Research Relationships with Inuit Communities: A Guide for Researchers. Scot Nickels, Jamal Shirley, and Gita Laidler (eds). Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Nunavut Research Institute: Ottawa and Iqaluit.
Kay, J. J., Regier, H. A., Boyle, M., and Francis, G. (1999). An ecosystem approach for sustainability: Addressing the challenge of complexity. Futures 31(7): 721–742.
Keay, J. A., and Webb, M. G. (1989). Effectiveness of human-bear management at protecting visitors and property in Yosemite National Park. In Bromley, M. (ed.), Bear-People Conflicts: Proceedings of a Symposium on Management Strategies. Yellowknife, NT, pp. 145–154.
Kofinas, G. P., Herman, S. J., and Meek, C. (2007). Novel problems require novel solutions: innovation as an outcome of adaptive co-management. In Armitage, D., Berkes, F., and Doubleday, N. (eds.), Adaptive co-management: collaboration, learning, and multi-level governance. University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver, pp. 249–27.
Korsmo, F. L., and Graham, A. (2002). Research in the North American north: Action and reaction. Arctic 55: 319–328.
Kruse, J., Klein, D., Braund, S., Moorehead, L., and Simeone, B. (1998). Co-management of natural resources: A comparison of two caribou management systems. Human Organization 57: 447–458.
Maarleveld, M., and Dangbegnon, C. (1999). Managing natural resources: A social learning perspective. Agriculture and Human Values 16: 267–280.
Marschke, M., and Nong, K. (2003). Adaptive co-management: lessons form coastal Cambodia. Canadian Journal of Development Studies XXIV(3): 369–383.
Mattson, D. J., and Craighead, J. J. (1994). The Yellowstone grizzly bear recovery program: Uncertain information, uncertain policy. In Clark, T. W., Reading, R. P., and Clarke, A. L. (eds.), Endangered species recovery: Finding the lessons, improving the process. Island Press, Washington DC, pp. 101–130.
Mattson, D. J., and Merrill, T. (2002). Extirpations of grizzly bears in the contiguous United States, 1850–2000. Conservation Biology 16(4): 1123–1136.
Mattson, D. J., and Reid, M. M. (1991). Conservation of the Yellowstone grizzly bear. Conservation Biology 5(3): 364–372.
Mattson, D. J., Blanchard, B. M., and Knight, R. R. (1992). Yellowstone grizzly bear mortality, human habituation, and whitebark pine seed crops. Journal of Wildlife Management 56(3): 432–442.
McLoughlin, P. D., Taylor, M. K., Cluff, H. D., Gau, R. J., Mulders, R., Case, R. L., et al. (2003). Population viability of barren-ground grizzly bears in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. Arctic 56(2): 185–190.
Miles, M. B., and Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook. Second edition. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA.
Morrow, P., and Hensel, C. (1992). Hidden dissension: Minority-majority relationships and the use of contested terminology. Arctic Anthropology 29(1): 38–53.
Nadasdy, P. (2003). Hunters and bureaucrats: Power, knowledge, and aboriginal-state relations in the southwest Yukon. University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver.
Nadasdy, P. (2007). Adaptive co-management and the gospel of resilience. In Armitage, D.R., Berkes, F., and Doubleday, N. (Eds). Adaptive co-management: collaboration, learning, and multi-level governance. University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver, pp. 208–227.
Nagy, J. A. (1990). Biology and management of grizzly bear on the Yukon north slope. Government of the Yukon, Department of Renewable Resources, Whitehorse.
Nagy, J. A., and Branigan, M. (Eds.). (1998). Co-management plan for grizzly bears in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Yukon Territory and Northwest Territories. Wildlife Management Advisory Council (North Slope)/Wildlife Management Advisory Council (Northwest Territories), Inuvik.
Natcher, D. C., Davis, S., and Hickey, C. G. (2005). Co-management: Managing relationships, not resources. Human Organization 64(3): 240–250.
Neary, D. (2006, Monday July 17, 2006). Bear burglar bites bullet. Nunavut News/North, p. 4.
Nuttall, M., and Callaghan, T. V. (eds.) (2000). The Arctic: Environment, people, policy. Harwood Academic Publishers, Amsterdam.
Olsson, P., Folke, C., and Berkes, F. (2004). Adaptive comanagement for building resilience in social-ecological systems. Environmental Management 34(1): 75–90.
Parlee, B., Manseau, M., and Nation, The Lutsel Kè Dene First (2005). Understanding and communicating about ecological change: Denesoline indicators of ecosystem health. In Berkes, F., Fast, H., Manseau, M., and Diduck, A. (eds.), Breaking ice: Renewable resource and ocean management in the Canadian north. University of Calgary/Arctic Institute of North America, Calgary, pp. 165–182.
Pearce, T., Ford, J., Laidler, G., Smit, B., Duerden, F., Allarut, M., Andrachuk, M., Baryluk, S., Dialla, A., Elee, P., Goose, A., Ikummaq, T., Joamie, E., Kataoyak, F., Loring, E., Meakin, S., Nickels, S., Scott, A., Shappa, K., Shirley, J., and Wandel, J. (2009). Community Collaboration and Climate Change Research in the Canadian Arctic. Polar Research 28: 10–27.
Plummer, R. (2009). The adaptive co-management process: an initial synthesis of representative models and influential variables. Ecology and Society 14(2): 24. Available at: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol14/iss2/art24/ [May 2011]
Plummer, R., and Armitage, D. R. (2007a). Charting the new territory of adaptive co-management: a Delphi study. Ecology and Society 12(2): 10. Available at: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol12/iss2/art10/ [May 2011]
Plummer, R., and Armitage, D. R. (2007b). A resilience-based framework for evaluating adaptive co-management: linking ecology, economics, and society in a complex world. Ecological Economics 61(2007b): 62–74.
Plummer, R., and Fennell, D. (2006). Exploring co-management theory: prospects for sociobiology and reciprocal altruism. Journal of Environmental Management 85(2007): 944–955.
Pomeroy, R. (2007). Conditions for successful fisheries and coastal resources co-management: lessons learned in Asia, Africa, and the wider Caribbean. In Armitage, D., Berkes, F., and Doubleday, N. (eds.), Adaptive co-management: collaboration, learning, and multi-level governance. University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver, pp. 172–190.
Prestrud, P., and Stirling, I. (1994). The international polar bear agreement and the current status of polar bear conservation. Aquatic Mammals 20(3): 113–124.
Rockwell, R., Gormezano, L., and Hedman, D. (2008). Grizzly bears in Wapusk National Park, northeastern Manitoba. Canadian Field-Naturalist 122(4): 323–326.
Rogers, L. L. (1989). Black bears, people, and garbage dumps in Minnesota. In Bromley, M. (ed.), Bear-people conflicts: proceedings of a symposium on management strategies. Yellowknife, NT, pp. 43–47.
Ruitenbeek, J., and Cartier, C. (2001). The invisible wand: Adaptive co-management as an emergent strategy in complex bio-economic systems. Occasional Paper No. 34. Center for International Forest Research, Jakarta.
Schliebe, S, Evans, T., Johnson, K., Roy, M., Miller, S., Hamilton, C., Meehan, R. and Jahrsdoerfer, S. (2006). Range-wide status review of the polar bear Ursus maritimus. USFWS, Anchorage. Available at: http://alaska.fws.gov/fisheries/mmm/polarbear/pdf/Polar_Bear_Status_Assessment.pdf [May 2011].
Schneider, B. (2004). Where the grizzly walks: The future of the great bear, 2nd ed. Falcon, Guilford.
Smith, B. (1991). Hunt wisely: A guide to male-selective grizzly bear hunting. Fish and Wildlife Branch, Yukon Renewable Resources, Whitehorse.
Stevenson, M. G. (2006). The possibility of difference: Rethinking co-management. Human Organization 65(2): 167–180.
Taylor, J. (1984). Bear management plans in Canadian national parks: Fifteen essential elements. M.Sc. Thesis. Faculty of Environmental Design, University of Calgary, Calgary.
Towns, L., Derocher, A. E., Stirling, I., Lunn, N. J., and Hedman, D. (2009). Spatial and temporal patterns of problem polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba. Polar Biology 32: 1529–1537.
Tyrrell, M. (2007). More bears, less bears: Inuit and scientific perceptions of polar bear populations on the west coast of Hudson Bay. Etudes Inuit Studies 30(2): 191–208.
Walker, B., Holling, C. S., Carpenter, S. R., and Kinzig, A. (2004). Resilience, adaptability and transformability in social--ecological systems. Ecology and Society 9(2). Available at: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol9/iss2/art5/ [November 2010].
Webster, D. K., and Inuit Heritage Centre, and Harvaqtuurmiut elders (1999). Harvaqtuurmiut heritage: The heritage of the Inuit of the lower Kazan River. Artisan Press, Yellowknife.
Wenzel, G. (2004). From TEK to IQ: Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit and Inuit cultural ecology. Arctic Anthropology 41(2): 238–250.
Westley, F., Carpenter, S. R., Brock, W. A., Holling, C. S., and Gunderson, L. H. (2002). Why systems of people and nature are not just social and ecological systems. In Gunderson, L. H., and Holling, C. S. (eds.), Panarchy: Understanding transformations in human and natural systems. Island Press, Washington DC, pp. 103–119.
White, G. (2006). Cultures in collision: Traditional knowledge and euro-Canadian governance processes in northern land-claim boards. Arctic 59(4): 401–414.
WMAC (NWT). (2002). Draft report, Inuvialuit Settlement Region grizzly bear management workshop, Inuvik NWT, October 15–17, 2002. Inuvik, NT: Wildlife Management Advisory Committee (NWT).
Wolfe, B. B., Humphries, M. M., Pisaric, M. F. J., Balasubramanian, A. M., Burn, C. R., Chan, L., Cooley, D., Froese, D. G., Graupe, S., Hall, R. I., Lantz, T., Prter, T. J., Roy-Leveillee, P., Turner, K. W., Wesche, S. D., and Williams, M. (2011). Environemntal change and traditional use of the Old Crow Flats in northern Canada: an IPY opportunity to meet the challenges of the new northern research paradigm. Arctic 64(1): 127–135.
Wondrak Biel, A. (2006). Do (not) feed the bears: The fitful history of wildlife and tourists in Yellowstone. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence.
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.
About this article
Cite this article
Clark, D.A., Slocombe, S. Adaptive Co-Management and Grizzly Bear-Human Conflicts in Two Northern Canadian Aboriginal Communities. Hum Ecol 39, 627 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10745-011-9423-x
- Adaptive co-management
- Grizzly bear
- North slope
- Northwest territories
- Traditional ecological knowledge
- Ursus arctos