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The anatomy of social capital of a Canadian indigenous community: Implications of social trust field experiments for community-based forest management

Shashi Kant and Ilan Vertinsky

Forest Policy and Economics, 2022, vol. 144, issue C

Abstract: The design of a community-based co-management system requires a nuanced understanding of social trust resources in the community involved. Unfortunately, however, there is a serious gap in our understandings concerning the distinct characteristics of social trust in Canadian indigenous communities. Such knowledge is essential to inform the design of management systems and processes that respect, accommodate and mobilize a community's unique culture and social resources. Our study contributes to filling the gap in our understanding of social trust patterns in Canadian First Nations, the largest indigenous population in Canada, by developing, testing and applying a systematic experimental framework for in-depth study of social trust of a First Nation community. It also explores the implications of our findings for improving the design of community-based co-management systems. We conducted our field-experiments in a community located in the northwestern forests of Ontario, Canada using a modified Investment Game (IG) as a core method in combination with survey instruments and games designed to trigger and measure behaviors related to specific motives that underpin IG allocations. Our methodology was designed to uncover fissures in the community's social trust related to gender and age. Our findings revealed that ‘others-regarding’ motives for trust are prevalent in the community and thus the bonding social capital is dominant and therefore social trust is rarely extended to individuals and institutions beyond the community. The findings also showed that cultural norms, especially with regard to the roles played by Elders and women as trustees and trustors in the community, do matter. We conclude with the implications of our study for the design and implementation of forest resources co-management agreements of the First Nation communities.

Keywords: Social capital; Social trust; Forest resources; Co-management; First nations; Economic games (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2022.102822

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Handle: RePEc:eee:forpol:v:144:y:2022:i:c:s1389934122001356