Tracking the Great Bear
176 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:15 Jan 2015
Release Date:20 Jul 2014
Release Date:30 Jul 2014

Tracking the Great Bear

How Environmentalists Recreated British Columbia’s Coastal Rainforest

UBC Press

Encompassing millions of hectares of globally rare coastal rainforest, the Great Bear Rainforest in coastal British Columbia is home to ancient trees, rich runs of salmon, and abundant species, including the elusive white “spirit bear.” The area also supports small human communities, particularly First Nations.  Once slated for clear-cut logging, large areas were protected in 2006 by the signing of one of the world’s most significant and innovative conservation agreements.

Tracking the Great Bear traces environmentalists' efforts to save the area from status quo industrial forestry, while at the same time respecting First Nations’ right to economic development. Adopting a novel theoretical approach from science and technology studies, the book explains environmentalists' success as a result of their deployment of a powerful actor-network within British Columbia’s land-use decision-making process.

This book makes a significant contribution to social scientific analyses of natural resource management. Bridging the gap between interpretivist and social structural analyses, it demonstrates how the Great Bear Rainforest was made – or, rather, recreated – out of uncertain and contested links among an improbable assemblage of actors and elements.

This book will be of interest to students and scholars of environmental sociology, environmental politics, and natural resource management.

This is an extremely important book, not only for explaining how collaboration has been achieved at a regional scale in mid- and north BC, but also as a symbol and example of what is possible in seemingly intractable conservation ‘stand-offs.’ It will repay study by students of environmental history and by all involved in that wide-reaching, all-encompassing field of environmental politics. Ken Atkinson, University of York St John, British Journal of Canadian Studies, Vol. 29 No. 1, Spring 2016
By documenting the transition from fiercely confrontational, oppositional activism to a more inclusive, collaborative, collective form of environmental politics in the development of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement, this book shows how all of those involved in discussions, negotiations, and actions ... worked out new ways of relating to (or framed new stories about) the rainforest environment and each other. By moving beyond familiar binary conceptualizations – such as those between nature and society, science and politics, ecology and economy, and local and global – this book also challenges widely accepted ways of thinking about (storying) the environment. Graeme Wynn, from the Foreword
Superbly researched, theoretically sophisticated, accessible, and immensely entertaining. You cannot ask for anything more from a book. Tracking the Great Bear tells a nuanced story about human-nonhuman assemblages in the constituting of the Great Bear Rainforest.  It also offers one of the most lucid applications of actor-network theory that I have come across in quite some time. Michael S. Carolan, Professor of Sociology, Colorado State University
Justin Page is an environmental social scientist at ERM Rescan, an environmental consulting company based in Vancouver. He has over ten years of environmental social sciences research experience in the academic and private sectors.

Foreword: Rethinking Environmentalism / Graeme Wynn


1 Where in the World Is the Great Bear? Problematizing British Columbia’s Coastal Forests

2 Grizzlies Growl at the International Market: Circulating a Panorama of the Great Bear Rainforest

3 Negotiating with the Enemy: Articulating a Common Matter of Concern

4 Mobilizing Allies and Reconciling Interests





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