An important outcome of social learning in the context of natural resource management is the potential for collective action—actions taken by a group of people that are the result of finding shared or common interest. Evidence of the relationship between collective action and social learning is beginning to emerge in the natural resource management literature in areas such as community forestry and participatory irrigation, but empirical evidence is sparse. Using a qualitative inquiry and research design involving a case study of the Wet’zinkw’a Community Forest Corporation, this paper presents research that examined the relationships between collective action and social learning through community forest management. Our findings show strong evidence of collective action outcomes on the part of board members responsible for the community forest, such as establishing a legacy fund, adding value to logs, protecting First Nations cultural values, and hiring locally. Our data also reveal that the actions taken by board members were encouraged through social learning that was related to acquiring (new) knowledge, developing an improved/deeper understanding, and building relationships. However, we found limited opportunities for community forest partners and the general public to learn and contribute to collective action outcomes since the actions taken and associated learning occurred mainly among board members.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited