Canadian Forest Service Publications

Social Dimensions of Community Vulnerability to Mountain Pine Beetle. 2005. MacKendrick, N.A.; Parkins, J.R. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Pacific Forestry Centre, Victoria, BC. Mountain Pine Beetle Initiative Working Paper 2005-26. 79 p.

Year: 2005

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 25930

Language: English

Series: Mountain Pine Beetle Working Paper (PFC - Victoria)

Availability: PDF (download)

Mark record


There is widespread recognition that the outbreak of mountain pine beetle will have significant social and economic impacts on forest-based communities in British Columbia (BC). Although some communities can be assumed to be vulnerable owing to their proximity to infested regions, there is little knowledge as to the nature and extent of this vulnerability, representing a serious impediment to planning and policy making. This report presents the results of a vulnerability assessment in eleven communities in BC and two communities in Alberta located in regions experiencing various levels of mountain pine beetle activity.

To assess community vulnerability, this project first builds a vulnerability framework based on social science research in the areas of climate change, community capacity, hazards management and risk perception, as well as focus group meetings in five of the study communities. Variables and indicators included in this framework are then measured and combined into a vulnerability index, with index scores assigned to each study community. The spatial variation in vulnerability is further illustrated using Geographic Information Systems analysis.

The final assessment reflects that vulnerability is not simply a function of physical exposure to beetle activity, but also of various social, economic, and political factors that contribute to community adaptive capacity. Therefore, some communities located in areas with high levels of beetle activity have less than expected vulnerability, owing to various capacities inherent in the community, while in other areas with low to moderate levels of activity, vulnerability is somewhat elevated owing to a relative absence of these capacities.