Fikret Berkes

Canada Research Chair in Community-Based Resource Management

Tier 1 - 2017-11-01
Renewed: 2009-09-01
University of Manitoba
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council


Research involves

Advancing knowledge on common property or common-pool resources, co-management, and community-based management by using theoretical approaches from complex adaptive systems, adaptive management and resilience, and by developing comparative case studies.

Research relevance

Focusing on the human dimensions of sustainable development, findings will contribute to the search for resource management policy alternatives in oceans management, northern and aboriginal resources, and international development.

Protecting Canada's Natural Resources

Clashes between short-term individual interests and long-term societal needs have lead to serious mismanagement of the environment. This so-called "tragedy of the commons" threatens the sustainability of ecosystems that provide the resources and ecological services which ultimately support all human activity. As our current resource management strategies appear to be inadequate to deal with the problem, there is a need to develop alternative strategies that will allow societies to meet their current needs without compromising the needs of future generations.

Dr. Fikret Berkes, Canada Research Chair in Community-based Resource Management, has spent some 25 years researching the conditions under which the "tragedy of the commons" may be avoided. He has been studying community-based management systems in Canada and abroad to determine which factors are important for sustainability.

The main goal of his current research is to advance knowledge of common property resources, participatory approaches and community-based management by creating a world class Centre for Community-Based Resource Management. This documentation and networking hub will facilitate collaborative partnerships among Canadian researchers and institutions, and provide international linkages.

This interdisciplinary research program will provide a unique approach to the social aspects of sustainability. It will investigate the ways in which societies use environmental knowledge and develop institutions to deal with sustainability. The analytical emphasis will be on change, complexity and uncertainty. Dr. Berkes' team will analyze existing case studies and undertake new ones to expand research in three related areas: co-management (the joint management of resources); resilience (the ability to absorb and adapt to change); and the use of local or indigenous knowledge.

Dr. Berkes' efforts will help to raise the profile of resource management research worldwide and provide excellent training opportunities for graduate students interested in this field. His ultimate goal is the sustainable and equitable use of Canada's fishery, wildlife, forestry and other resources through participatory management approaches.

Berkes will also contribute to the International Research Chairs Initiative (IRCI), a new partnership between the International Development Research Centre and the Canada Research Chairs Program.