Repository logo

Adaptive governance for fire management planning : a case study on Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title




Degree Level



Fire is a natural ecological process in the boreal forest, but also a threat to human lives, properties and other values at risk. The challenge is to find a way to manage fire where both the positive and negative aspects of fire are effectively balanced. This is especially important since more frequent and intense wildfires are predicted in the future due to climate change. There is also a need for increased cooperation across jurisdictions to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Canadian fire management. To address the current and future challenges of fire management, this thesis argues that an effective and adaptive governance approach is needed. The purpose of the study was to develop principles, criteria and indicators of adaptive governance and to apply this framework to fire management planning in Prince Albert National Park (PANP), Saskatchewan. Because of the need to include other agencies with fire responsibilities, the study also focused on the interagency cooperation with Saskatchewan Environment (SE), the provincial ministry responsible for wildfires. Principles, criteria and indicators of adaptive governance were identified based on literature on good governance, adaptive management, adaptive governance, and wildfire specific literature. A qualitative research approach was then used to collect data mainly through semi-structured interviews with representatives from Parks Canada (both from PANP and at the national level) and SE, and document analysis of fire plans and strategies. This study shows that many aspects of adaptive governance have already been implemented in PANP, so that principles and criteria of inclusiveness, legitimacy, foresight, leadership, and many aspects of performance-oriented and adaptiveness have been at least partially met. Yet, there is a need to improve information-sharing and communication, especially across jurisdictions. In terms of the interagency cooperation between PANP and SE, having different mandates is the biggest challenge, but it does not prevent cooperation. Throughout the years both agencies have worked out ways to deal with differences in their mandate and fire management strategies. Having a dialogue to try to understand each other's mandate and respect each other has been and continues to be a key factor in the cooperation. Finally, maintaining and retaining social capital may be crucial to future success in fire management planning, both from an intra- and from an interagency perspective.



interagency cooperation, social capital, fire management, Prince Albert National Park, climate change, adaptive governance



Master of Environment and Sustainability (M.E.S.)


School of Environment and Sustainability


School of Environment and Sustainability


Part Of