Canadian Forest Service Publications

Enhancing social indicators research in a forest-dependent community. 1999. Parkins, J.R. Forestry Chronicle 75(5): 771-780.

Year: 1999

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 18677

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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Abstract

Forest industry host communities are receiving increased attention from policy makers, academics, and municipal leaders. Recently, this attention is trained on measuring social and economic change at the community level and on identifying and developing avenues to greater community well-being. This paper examines aspects of two common social indicators, employment and migration, in the context of a forest-dependent community in Northern Alberta. By using statistical information along with two other major data sources that include interviews with local residents and a variety of reports from local institutions, specific social changes taking place within the community are described. Readers are cautioned against relying solely on statistical information to measure change and are encouraged to triangulate data with local sources. Such efforts may be more time consuming but the results are likely to provide more important insights into how and why certain communities are prospering while others are struggling. The paper concludes with a discussion of social capital as a crucial dimension of community well-being.