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Historical and contemporary indigenous marine conservation strategies in the North Pacific

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Strategies to reduce, halt, and reverse global declines in marine biodiversity are needed urgently. We reviewed, coded, and synthesized historical and contemporary marine conservation strategies of the Kitasoo/Xai'xais First Nation in British Columbia, Canada to show how their approaches work. We assessed whether the conservation actions classification system by the Conservation Measures Partnership was able to encompass this nation's conservation approaches. All first-order conservation actions aligned with the Kitasoo/Xai'xais First Nation's historical and contemporary marine conservation actions; hereditary chief management responsibility played a key role. A conservation ethic permeates Kitasoo/Xai'xais culture, and indigenous resource management and conservation existed historically and remains strong despite extreme efforts by colonizers to suppress all indigenous practices. The Kitasoo/Xai'xais's embodiment of conservation actions as part of their worldview, rather than as requiring actions separate from everyday life (the norm in nonindigenous cultures), was missing from the conservation action classification system. The Kitasoo/Xai'xais are one of many indigenous peoples working to revitalize their governance and management authorities. With the Canadian government's declared willingness to work toward reconciliation, there is an opportunity to enable First Nations to lead on marine and other conservation efforts. Global conservation efforts would also benefit from enhanced support for indigenous conservation approaches, including expanding the conservation actions classification to encompass a new category of conservation or sacredness ethic. © 2019 The Authors. Conservation Biology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society for Conservation Biology.
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Conservation Practice and Policy
Historical and contemporary indigenous marine
conservation strategies in the North Pacific
Natalie C. Ban ,1Emma Wilson,1,2 and Doug Neasloss2
1School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria, P.O. Box 1700 STN CSC, Victoria, British Columbia V8W Y2Y, Canada
2Kitasoo/Xai’xais Stewardship Authority, Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation, P.O. Box 87, Klemtu, British Columbia V0T 1L0, Canada
Abstract: Strategies to reduce, halt, and reverse global declines in marine biodiversity are needed urgently.
We reviewed, coded, and synthesized historical and contemporary marine conservation strategies of the Kita-
soo/Xai’xais First Nation in British Columbia, Canada to show how their approaches work. We assessed whether
the conservation actions classification system by the Conservation Measures Partnership was able to encompass
this nation’s conservation approaches. All first-order conservation actions aligned with the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First
Nation’s historical and contemporary marine conservation actions; hereditary chief management responsibility
played a key role. A conservation ethic permeates Kitasoo/Xai’xais culture, and indigenous resource management
and conservation existed historically and remains strong despite extreme efforts by colonizers to suppress all
indigenous practices. The Kitasoo/Xai’xais’s embodiment of conservation actions as part of their worldview,
rather than as requiring actions separate from everyday life (the norm in nonindigenous cultures), was missing
from the conservation action classification system. The Kitasoo/Xai’xais are one of many indigenous peoples
working to revitalize their governance and management authorities. With the Canadian government’s declared
willingness to work toward reconciliation, there is an opportunity to enable First Nations to lead on marine
and other conservation efforts. Global conservation efforts would also benefit from enhanced support for indige-
nous conservation approaches, including expanding the conservation actions classification to encompass a new
category of conservation or sacredness ethic.
Keywords: first nations management, great bear rainforest, indigenous community conserved areas, indigenous
protected areas, indigenous stewardship, marine protected areas
Estrategias Ind´
ıgenas Contempor´
aneas de Conservaci´
on Marina en el Pac´
ıfico Norte
Resumen: Se necesitan urgentemente estrategias para reducir, detener y revertir las declinaciones mundiales de
biodiversidad marina. Revisamos, codificamos y sintetizamos estrategias hist´
oricas y contempor´
aneas de conser-
vaci´
on marina realizadas por la Primera Naci´
on Kitasoo/Xai’xais en la Columbia Brit´
anica, Canad´
a, para demostrar
c´
omo funcionan sus estrategias. Evaluamos si el sistema de clasificaci´
on de acciones de conservaci´
on hecho por la
Asociaci´
on de Medidas de Conservaci´
on era capaz de englobar las acciones de conservaci´
on de esta naci´
on. Todas
las acciones de conservaci´
on de primera orden se alinearon con las acciones hist´
oricas y contempor´
aneas de con-
servaci´
on marina realizadas por la Primera Naci´
on Kitasoo/Xai’xais; en las cuales la responsabilidad de gesti´
on del
jefe hereditario jug´
o un papel de suma importancia. Una ´
etica de conservaci´
on permea la cultura Kitasoo/Xai’xais,
y la conservaci´
on el manejo ind´
ıgena de los recursos han existido hist´
oricamente y permanecen fuertes a pesar los
esfuerzos extremos de los colonizadores por eliminar todas las pr´
acticas ind´
ıgenas. La encarnaci´
on de las acciones
de conservaci´
on de los Kitasoo/Xai’xais como parte de su cosmogon´
ıa, en lugar de requerir acciones separadas
de la vida diaria (la norma para las culturas no ind´
ıgenas), no estaba incluida en el sistema de clasificaci´
on de las
acciones de conservaci´
on. Este pueblo es uno de los tantos grupos ´
etnicos que se encuentran trabajando para
email nban@uvic.ca
Article impact statement: Indigenous marine conservation remains strong, despite colonial efforts to undermine indigenous governance, and
should be supported.
Paper submitted May 11, 2018; revised manuscript accepted August 18, 2019.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and
distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are
made.
5
Conservation Biology,Volume34,No.1,514
C
2019 The Authors. Conservation Biology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society for Conservation Biology.
DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13432
6Marine Conservation
revitalizar su gobernanza y sus autoridades de manejo. Con la declaraci´
on de disposici´
on del gobierno canadiense
por trabajar hacia la reconciliaci´
on, existe una oportunidad para permitirle a las Primeras Naciones liderar los
esfuerzos de conservaci´
on marina, as´
ı como otros tipos de conservaci´
on. Los esfuerzos globales de conservaci´
on
tambi´
en se beneficiar´
ıan de un mayor apoyo a las estrategias ind´
ıgenas de conservaci´
on, incluyendo la expansi´
on
de la clasificaci´
on de las acciones de conservaci´
on para que engloben una categor´
ıa nueva de conservaci´
onode
´
etica sagrada.
Palabras Clave: administraci´
on ind´
ıgena, ´
areas conservadas por comunidades ind´
ıgenas, ´
areas marinas protegi-
das, ´
areasprotegidasind
´
ıgenas, bosque lluvioso Great Bear, gesti´
on de las Primeras Naciones
:
Kitasoo/Xai’xais ,
,
Kitasoo/Xai’xais ,
Kitasoo/Xai’xais ,,
,Kitasoo/Xai’xais ,
(),Kitasoo/Xai’xais
,

,:;:
:,,,,,
Introduction
Declines in marine biodiversity and wilderness are oc-
curring globally and regionally (Jones et al. 2018) due to
threats such as overfishing, climate change, and pollu-
tion (Halpern et al. 2015). Many countries committed to
improving biodiversity conservation by supporting the
Convention on Biological Diversity’s Aichi targets and
sustainable development goals (CBD 2010; Griggs et al.
2013). Many nations recognize the need to align con-
servation with indigenous peoples’ rights (Ban & Frid
2018) and signed the UN Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples (UN General Assembly 2007).
To create a common understanding of conservation
strategies and threats, Salafsky et al. (2008) developed
a classification of conservation strategies. The Conser-
vation Measures Partnership (CMP) (2018) updates this
comprehensive classification. Actions are classified into
restoration and stress-reduction actions, for example,
water and species management, behavioral change, and
threat-reduction actions, such as awareness raising, law
enforcement, and incentives (CMP 2018). This classifica-
tion is the only such system used globally and has been
implemented widely because it is useful in assessing and
identifying gaps in conservation actions (Schwartz et al.
2012; Bower et al. 2018; Redford et al. 2018). Given the
broad application of the CMP and the increasingly urgent
need to recognize indigenous peoples’ conservation prac-
tices, it is important to ensure the classification captures
all conservation practices.
Indigenous marine conservation and management
practices (hereafter indigenous conservation) vary glob-
ally and support local ecosystems, customs, and sustain-
able use (Lepofsky & Caldwell 2013; Ban & Frid 2018;
Berkes 2018). Some indigenous conservation strategies
are similar across cultures, including customary tenure
areas where rights of extraction, management, and ac-
cess to the ocean belong to specific people or entities
(e.g., village, chief, or family) (Cinner & Aswani 2007;
Jupiter et al. 2014). Indigenous conservation practices
are commonly underpinned by worldviews that embed
respect for all living beings and guide actions as contained
within stories, customs, and traditions (Lepofsky & Cald-
well 2013; Ban & Frid 2018; Berkes 2018). Although the
conservation literature highlights the importance of in-
digenous conservation (e.g., Drew 2005), many countries
continue to displace indigenous peoples in the name of
conservation (e.g., Lunstrum & Ybarra 2018).
We examined whether the CMP’s conservation actions
classification captures indigenous conservation prac-
tices. We used the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation’s strate-
gies through time as an example. We formed a part-
nership between the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation and
University of Victoria researchers to conduct the study.
The intent was not to justify or rationalize indigenous
conservation practices in Western terms. Rather, the Ki-
tasoo/Xai’xais wanted to showcase their historical and
contemporary conservation strategies by using a scheme
recognized by practitioners regionally and globally so that
their approaches can be better recognized and supported
in ongoing marine planning and protection processes in
the region. This work is part of a broader effort by Ki-
tasoo/Xai’xais First Nation to revitalize their governance
and practices.
Conservation Biology
Volume 34, No. 1, 2020
Ban et al. 7
Figure 1. Study area in Canada (hatching, claimed territory of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation).
Methods
Case Study
The Kitasoo/Xai’xais people call the central coast of
British Columbia, Canada, their home (Fig. 1). The Ki-
tasoo and Xai’xais lived in villages and seasonal camps
throughout their territory. Kitasoo traditionally resided
in coastal areas, and Xai’xais primarily resided in inlets
(Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation 2011). Around 1875, the
2 groups joined together in Klemtu and are now collec-
tively known as the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation. Histori-
cally, the Kitasoo/Xai’xais were highly dependent on the
land and ocean for survival and trade (Kitasoo/Xai’xais
First Nation 2011). The hereditary chieftainship system,
potlatch ceremonies, and the seasonal food and preserva-
tion cycle governed resource ownership and extraction,
ensuring sustainable use of marine resources for thou-
sands of years (Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation 2011). The
Kitasoo/Xai’xais say, sustainable “means the wealth of
the forests, fish, wildlife and the complexity of all life
willbehereforever...[and] ...wewillbehereforever
and that “we need to protect, manage and enhance the
resources and our culture...to ultimately protect our
Conservation Biology
Volume 34, No. 1, 2020
8Marine Conservation
heritage” (Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation and University of
Victoria 2018).
Past and ongoing colonization of many coastal regions
resulted in rapid and drastic changes in indigenous man-
agement practices because they were criminalized. In-
digenous peoples were forcibly relocated, and declines
of marine species due to commercialization contributed
to changed access to indigenous management practices
(Harris 2002; Ommer 2007). In Canada, the Indian Act
and associated policies prohibited First Nations’ cultural
practices, such as potlatches (gift-giving feasts, a crucial
governance mechanism); banned, for example, indige-
nous fish traps and weirs that allowed selective harvest
of salmon (Atlas et al. 2017); confined indigenous people
to reservations; and forcibly placed children in boarding
schools (Harris 2002; Truth and Reconciliation Commis-
sion 2015). These policies, and related ongoing legacies,
severely diminished the well-being of First Nations and
disrupted indigenous knowledge and management prac-
tices (Truth and Reconciliation Commission 2015).
Information and Analyses
The Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation developed their Cul-
tural Heritage Project to revitalize their governance and
practices by documenting their laws, governance, prac-
tices, and stories. They compiled all available docu-
mented information about the Kitasoo/Xai’xais, includ-
ing historical documents (e.g., journals of explorers and
anthropologists), traditional stories, and recordings and
transcripts of interviews, into the Kitasoo/Xai’xais Her-
itage Database. Kitasoo/Xai’xais researchers searched
their own, regional, national, and international archives
(e.g., British Columbia Archives, Library and Archives
Canada, American Philosophical Society) and placed
a copy of all sources in the Heritage Database. Kita-
soo/Xai’xais researchers interviewed elders to document
their memories of indigenous laws and governance prac-
tices and also used a method developed by Friedland and
Napoleon (2015) to derive Kitasoo/Xai’xais legal princi-
ples from the material.
We accessed and reviewed all sources (2000 entries
as of May 2018) in the Heritage Database to identify
and summarize those that pertained directly to marine
governance (100 entries). We used these to articulate
Kitasoo/Xai’xais marine governance and management
through a community-based process (i.e., iterative re-
view by the community, hereditary chiefs, and elders)
and 6 semistructured interviews with elders to fill gaps
relating to the marine environment specifically (Univer-
sity of Victoria ethics protocol 17–211). This process is
described in Ban et al. (2019). We used the specifics
of Kitasoo/Xai’xais marine governance and management
detailed in an unpublished report (Kitasoo/Xai’xais First
Nation and University of Victoria 2018) to code their
conservation strategies for the CMP Actions Classification
(Salafsky et al. 2008). First we coded for historical and
contemporary Kitasoo/Xai’xais conservation categories,
and then we coded strategies that did not fit the classifi-
cation. We considered the contemporary period as time
since European colonial and settler influence became
dominant.
The Heritage Database, on which our research is based,
although impressive, is incomplete due to efforts by the
government to undermine indigenous languages, laws,
and cultures. Thus, we focused on documented knowl-
edge about Kitasoo/Xai’xais marine governance, but we
recognize this knowledge is not comprehensive. Hence,
no data do not mean an aspect of marine conservation
was not practiced, but rather that we did not have in-
formation about it. Similarly, the Heritage Database fo-
cuses primarily on documenting historical governance.
While many of the interviews contained in the database
comment on recent events, and there was less informa-
tion on contemporary than on historical Kitasoo/Xai’xais
conservation actions. Contemporary conservation strate-
gies fall within the lived experience of Kitasoo/Xai’xais
stewardship staff, and in particular one of us (D.N.) as
stewardship director. We thus augmented contemporary
conservation practices with our experiences and conver-
sations with Kitasoo/Xai’xais resource stewardship staff.
For each of the categories of conservation actions, we
assessed whether relevant actions were documented in
the Kitasoo/Xai’xais marine governance and management
report (Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation and University of
Victoria 2018) and, if so, summarized them while ensur-
ing that confidential information was not disclosed (e.g.,
names of hereditary chiefs, and specific places).
Results
All first-order categories of CMP conservation actions clas-
sification system (2018) were applicable for historical
and contemporary Kitasoo/Xai’xais conservation prac-
tices (Table 1). Historically and contemporaneously a
recurring theme was the paramount importance of con-
servation to sustain use of marine ecosystems. Kita-
soo/Xai’xais stewardship and conservation did not cease
as colonizers attempted to deconstruct indigenous gover-
nance. The Kitasoo/Xai’xais asserted their management
authority—especially for conservation—and applied con-
servation practices evolved through time. We report high-
lights for first-order conservation action of the classifica-
tion: land and water management; species management;
awareness raising; law enforcement and prosecution;
livelihood, economic, and moral incentives; conservation
designation and planning; legal and policy frameworks,
research and monitoring; and institutional development.
Although we focused on linking Kitasoo/Xai’xais con-
servation practices to first order actions, many of their
practices entail >1 category (Supporting Information).
Conservation Biology
Volume 34, No. 1, 2020
Ban et al. 9
Table 1. Historical and contemporary use of categories in the Con-
servation Measures Partnership Conservation Actions Classification
(version 2.0) by the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation.
Categories of first- and second-
order conservation actionHistorical
Contemp-
orary
Target restoration and
stress-reduction actions
✓✓
land and water management ✓✓
site and area stewardship ✓✓
ecosystem and natural-process
re-creation
✓✓
species management ✓✓
species stewardship ✓✓
species reintroduction &
translocation
ex situ conservation
Behavioral change and
threat-reduction actions
✓✓
awareness raising ✓✓
outreach & communications ✓✓
protests & civil disobedience
law enforcement & prosecution ✓✓
detection & arrest ✓✓
criminal prosecution &
conviction
✓✓
noncriminal legal action
Livelihood, economic, & moral
incentives
✓✓
linked enterprises and
alternative livelihoods
✓✓
better products and
management practices
✓✓
market-based incentives
direct economic incentives
nonmonetary values ✓✓
Enabling condition actions ✓✓
conservation designation &
planning
✓✓
protected area designation or
acquisition
✓✓
easements and resource rights ✓✓
land- and water-use zoning and
designation
✓✓
conservation planning
site infrastructure ✓✓
legal and policy frameworks ✓✓
laws, regulations, and codes ✓✓
policies and guidelines ✓✓
research and monitoring ✓✓
basic research and status
monitoring
✓✓
evaluation, effectiveness
measures, and learning
✓✓
education and training ✓✓
formal education ✓✓
training and individual capacity
development
institutional development ✓✓
internal organizational
management and
administration
external organizational
development and support
alliance and partnership
development
✓✓
financing conservation
Second-order actions are subordinate to first order in the column.
Land and Water Management
Historically and today hereditary chiefs are stewards for
the territory held under their name to ensure these ar-
eas are used sustainably. Historically, people dispersed
to seasonal spring and summer camps to use resources.
Everyone using resources had stewardship obligations
(e.g., disable fish traps when not in use). Access to the
territory in the short term to allow recovery of species and
in the long-term through agreements with neighboring
nations is regulated.
Hereditary chiefs use their authority to oppose non-
Kitasoo/Xai’xais decisions imposed on them. For exam-
ple, in the 2010s the Kitasoo/Xai’xais created their own
herring management plan (Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation
2019), and members protested against the commercial
herring roe fishery, reacting to concerns about declines
in herring populations and unstainable federal fisheries
management. When Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)
disclosed new fishing regulations in Kitasu Bay for com-
munity members, the chiefs did not accept them and
protested. Hereditary chiefs and community members
practice their authority over harvesting decisions, even
though the Canadian government provides DFO with sole
jurisdiction to manage fisheries.
Historically, conservation emphasized long-term sus-
tainable use, such that ecosystem and natural-process
creation or re-creation was not necessary. Respect, reci-
procity, intergenerational knowledge, and interconnect-
edness are foundational to Kitasoo/Xai’xais law, inform
all marine governance processes, and are essential to
how Kitasoo/Xai’xais interact with others and the en-
vironment. Hereditary chiefs ensure conservation of re-
sources by making decisions about harvesting. Today, Ki-
tasoo/Xai’xais continue to view conservation and sustain-
ability as essential, actively oppose unsustainable prac-
tices, and are involved in ecosystem restoration projects.
Species Management
Hereditary chiefs are responsible for conservation and
management of all species. Continual use of resources
is a way of maintaining and displaying rights to re-
source claims. Selective harvesting is paramount (e.g.,
harvesting abundant species and selecting for specific
characteristics and sizes). Today, the Kitasoo/Xai’xais
Stewardship Authority (KXSA) is involved in species
conservation and management. The Fisheries Committee
stipulates fisheries openings and gathers catch data. Indi-
vidual Kitasoo/Xai’xais help ensure sustainability by, for
example, moving small captured crabs to places where
they have been depleted.
Awareness Raising
The need to raise awareness about conservation was less
paramount in the past, when everyone relied on the
oceans for their well-being. Important events continue to
Conservation Biology
Volume 34, No. 1, 2020
10 Marine Conservation
be communicated during potlaches, where guests serve
as witnesses. Historically and currently, oral story telling
is a key aspect of transferring knowledge, laws, and
principles among generations. In addition to traditional
communication methods, KXSA uses modern tools (e.g.,
quarterly newsletter, social media, experiential learning,
and art).
In contemporary Kitasoo/Xai’xais conservation,
protests and civil disobedience are practiced to obtain
recognition of legitimate authority over their territory.
The Kitasoo/Xai’xais have also used indigenous laws
to close bays to herring and crab fishing and will risk
arrest to enforce those laws (not yet recognized by the
Canadian government) (Frid et al. 2016).
Law Enforcement and Prosecution
Historically, the Kitasoo met at Disju (an important
gathering place) to resolve resource and territorial dis-
putes within and beyond the nation. For individuals
there were clear consequences for acting irresponsibly
(e.g., unsustainable harvest of species), including loss
of access and expulsion from the territory. Now, Kita-
soo/Xai’xais, especially harvesters, report illegal fishing
activities to Kitasoo/Xai’xais leadership. The Guardian
Watchmen (a coast-wide program in which the Ki-
taoo/Xai’xais participate) are paid to patrol the territory,
observe, and ensure compliance with rules. The Kita-
soo/Xai’xais Guardian Watchmen do not yet have the
legal authority to issue citations or make arrests, but
they carefully monitor the territory and collect evidence.
The Kitasoo/Xai’xais have participated in legal action
to safeguard their territory (e.g., against Fisheries and
Oceans Canada for managing sea cucumber unsustain-
ably). Hereditary chiefs and elders work with KXSA to
enforce harvesting laws. Because elders know the history
of hereditary chief names and ownership of places is asso-
ciated with those names given to people, they can assist
with harvesting laws and land and sea ownership-dispute
resolution.
Livelihood, Economic, and Moral Incentives
The evolution of fishing technologies, coupled with strict
harvesting protocols, led to extensive systems of fish
traps and weirs in the territory that facilitated selec-
tive harvesting. Kitasoo/Xai’xais have a deep relationship
with the ocean (it is their primary source of sustenance)
and everything in it is considered sacred. This is high-
lighted in many stories and customs. For example, when
the first catch of the season was brought in, the chief
would hold a feast to celebrate and call attention to his
property and harvest rights. Today, the condition of the
ocean remains closely tied to people’s well-being, and
Kitasoo/Xai’xais continue to support environmentally re-
sponsible livelihoods. In particular, Klemtu has become
a world-class tourism destination for people seeking to
see the spirit bear, a genetic variant of the black bear
(Ursus americanus kermodei), and the Spirit Bear Lodge
provides employment for Kitasoo/Xai’xais. Commercial
ventures in Kitasoo/Xai’xais territory (e.g., ecotourism
and fish farming) are carefully managed, guided by Kita-
soo/Xai’xais principles, to develop best practices, mini-
mize environmental damage, and provide livelihood op-
portunities for Kitasoo/Xai’xais.
Conservation Designation and Planning
Hereditary Chiefs are responsible for long-term conser-
vation. Specific restrictions were established for seasons
and places (e.g., harvesting eulachon [Thaleichthys paci-
ficus] in a specific river was not allowed because it had
the first run of the year).
Since colonization, and especially over the past
50 years, the Kitasoo/Xai’xais fought (and continue to)
to establish resource management rights recognized by
Canadian provincial and federal governments (e.g., es-
tablishment of indigenous protected areas and use of
Kitasoo/Xai’xais laws to close bays to commercial and
recreational crabbing) (Frid et al. 2016). The Kita-
soo/Xai’xais actively engage in conservation planning
(e.g., community’s marine-use plan, regional Marine Plan
Partnership, and planning the Northern Shelf Bioregion
marine protected area). A patrol hut was built at Mus-
sel Inlet to allow Guardian Watchmen a presence there.
A new stewardship building was recently completed to
enhance learning and research.
Legal and Policy Frameworks
Kitasoo/Xai’xais are expected to treat the marine envi-
ronment in a way that upholds Kitasoo/Xai’xais under-
lying principles and practices. They believe the ocean
has a right to be respected and protected. There were
historic intertribal agreements about uses and boundaries
based on respect and reciprocity. The protocol to harvest
resources in somebody else’s territory is to ask permis-
sion of whoever holds rights to the area. Marine territory
rights, validated through potlatches, are “ . . . established
and formalized by means of demonstration of and claims
to such rights through certain names, crests, and songs.”
Respect is a cultural norm, demonstrated by taking only
what one needs, not killing for fun, fully using what is
harvested, and not overharvesting. For example, when
colonial law encouraged the killing of seals and wolves,
the Kitasoo/Xai’xais did not participate. Today, Kita-
soo/Xai’xais work with neighboring nations on resource
management issues, for example, through the Central
Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance. The KXSA provides
policies and reviews application for permits (by non-
indigenous users) in the territory.
Conservation Biology
Volume 34, No. 1, 2020
Ban et al. 11
Research and Monitoring
Historically, Kitasoo/Xai’xais acted on observations to
regulate harvesting in the areas for which each hered-
itary chief was responsible. Although this was not re-
search and monitoring as framed today, presence on the
water, and adaptive management and evolution of man-
agement practices, ensured conservation and sustainable
use.
Today the Kitasoo/Xai’xais are leading and partnering
on numerous research projects, some of which are aimed
at assessing the effectiveness of management measures
(e.g., Kitasoo/Xai’xais Guardian Watchmen carry out bi-
ological monitoring of species and interview knowledge
holders). The Kitasoo/Xai’xais Cultural Heritage Project
is an important research endeavor.
Education and Training
In the past, formal education was provided as guid-
ance from elders and knowledge holders. The princi-
ple of intergenerational knowledge relies on the trans-
fer of knowledge between generations, which depends
on teaching. Parents, grandparents, and elders teach
young people about marine governance principles and
the proper way to act. Elders continue to play a crucial
role in intergenerational knowledge transfer.
More recently, the Guardian Watchmen program trains
staff to be stewards of the territory. The KXSA provides
training and capacity-development opportunities year
round (e.g., first aid, whale disentanglement workshops).
The summer programs Supporting Emerging Aboriginal
Stewards and Sua Youth Cultural Group for high school
students provide education in resource stewardship and
cultural practices.
Institutional Development
The KXIRA provides technical advice and support for
effective decision making by the Kitasoo/Xai’xais com-
munity and its leadership. They work with neighbor-
ing nations to promote sustainable management and
conservation of the central coast and partner with uni-
versities, not-for profit organizations, and governments
on resource management and conservation issues. In-
stitutional development, as conceptualized today, did
not exist in the past, although Disju was the gather-
ing place where leaders met and partnerships were
formed.
Conservation Actions Not Present
Not all second-order conservation actions (CMP 2018)
were relevant for historical and contemporary Kita-
soo/Xai’xais conservation. Ex situ conservation, market-
based incentives, direct economic incentives, and exter-
nal organizational support and development were not
mentioned in historical or contemporary Kitasoo/Xai’xais
conservation. No zoos or seedbanks exist in Kita-
soo/Xai’xais territory; thus, ex situ conservation is not
relevant. Cultural values dominate economic ones—
although the latter also matters—hence, neither market-
based nor economic incentives have as yet been em-
ployed. External organizational support and development
was not applicable in the past and was not mentioned for
contemporary times.
Missing Elements of Current Classification
The classification captured many aspects of Kita-
soo/Xai’xais conservation practices, but missed the
important role Kitasoo/Xai’xais worldview and legal prin-
ciples play in engraining a conservation ethic that per-
meates all aspects of being and acting. The belief that
the ocean is sacred is embedded in practices that ensure
the well-being of the ocean and people, and showing re-
spect is an essential component of how Kitasoo/Xai’xais
act with regard to other beings. An example is the First
Salmon Feast, a celebration for the return of salmon in
May. When potlatches were banned, Kitasoo/Xai’xais still
celebrated this important event but concealed under the
Salmon Queen, and later, the May Queen celebrations.
Relationships are key in the Kitasoo/Xai’xais conserva-
tion ethic, and marine (and other) species are considered
relatives. This close relationship can be seen in the names
of people, including hereditary chief names that refer to
marine species. The sacredness of the ocean and its inhab-
itants are considered kin, which results in a conservation
ethic that permeates everyday life. These are not empha-
sized in the conservation classification; instead, they are
relegated to “developing religious or cultural arguments
for conservation” (CMP 2018).
Discussion
The CMP (CMP 2018), the most prominent globally rec-
ognized classification of conservation actions (Schwartz
et al. 2012; Bower et al. 2018; Redford et al. 2018),
captured many of the conservation actions used by the
Kitasoo/Xai’xais people, yet also fell short in some as-
pects. Matching Kitasoo/Xai’xais conservation actions
to the CMP conservation action classification illustrated
that strategies used by the Kitasoo/Xai’xais are broader
than the classification system and encompass multiple
actions across categories. For example, hereditary chiefs
are responsible for stewardship of specific areas, ecosys-
tem processes, species stewardship, resolving disputes,
among others. There is thus a danger that application
of the classification may make indigenous conservation
actions appear as distinct pieces when they are part of
the cultural fabric of stewardship where all conserva-
Conservation Biology
Volume 34, No. 1, 2020
12 Marine Conservation
tion actions are connected. There are pros and cons to
using a classification. One the one hand, a classification
of conservation actions can greatly facilitate the work of
conservation practitioners. On the other, one classifica-
tion may never fully encompass all cultural manifestations
of conservation. We attempted to take a middle ground
and expand the view of conservation by assessing the
classification in a different cultural context.
A crucial gap we identified in the conservation action
classification was related to a conservation ethic (Leopold
1933). A conservation ethic permeates Kitasoo/Xai’xais
culture, which has many similarities to First Nations in
British Columbia, and has been documented for many
other indigenous peoples (e.g., Johannes 2002; Keali-
ikanakaoleohaililani & Giardina 2016; Simpson 2017;
Friedlander 2018). Furthermore, indigenous resource
management and conservation existed in the past (Lep-
ofsky & Caldwell 2013) and continues strongly, despite
efforts by colonizers to suppress all indigenous prac-
tices (Truth and Reconciliation Commission 2015). We
found that this conservation ethic is so strong that in-
dividuals risked severe punishment to maintain it (e.g.,
imprisonment). This aspect of conservation—its embod-
iment in all actions as part of the worldview rather
than its conceptualization as a separate activity—is also
what we found missing from the conservation action
classification (CMP 2018). We suggest that a high-level
conservation action be added as “sacredness ethic” or
“conservation ethic” to recognize activities that embody
conservation in the everyday (Kealiikanakaoleohaililani
& Giardina 2016). In this sacredness ethic, “taking of
resources is viewed as an exchange and a privilege that
comes with stewardship responsibilities,” which con-
trasts with the currently prevailing commodity ethic
that maximizes profits (Kealiikanakaoleohaililani & Gi-
ardina 2016). An improved conservation classification
system could be used, at the request of indigenous
peoples, to help translate and make visible indigenous
governance to nonindigenous conservation practition-
ers. Another tactic would be to take one or more in-
digenous conservation approaches as a starting point to
develop a different classification and then see how it
compares.
As part of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais’s efforts to revitalize
their indigenous governance and practices, the results
of this study are helping instill a sense of pride in Ki-
tasoo/Xai’xais’s past and ongoing cultural conservation
practices and showed that many of the conservation
actions applied were relevant in the past and are rele-
vant today. The strength of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais conser-
vation ethic today is remarkable given colonial attempts
to undermine all aspects of indigenous culture and prac-
tices (Truth and Reconciliation Commission 2015). Their
governance mechanisms and practices adapted to the
changes, went underground, and laid dormant. The Ki-
tasoo/Xai’xais Cultural Heritage Project, which includes
this work as a small piece thereof, is part of the Kita-
soo/Xai’xais Nation’s attempt to reinvigorate their gover-
nance. We contend that other indigenous peoples like-
wise have sacredness ethics and that their conservation
actions adapted and persist despite past and ongoing
attempts of colonial governments to undermine them.
Documenting indigenous conservation strategies, where
desired and led by indigenous peoples, is one avenue for
cultural and governance resurgence in the domain of con-
servation. With the Canadian government espousing its
intention to move toward reconciliation with indigenous
peoples, there is an urgent opportunity for the federal
and provincial governments to support and recognize in-
digenous authority over resource management, including
in the ocean (Ban & Frid 2018).
Our case study also highlighted similarities, and some
differences, with other documented indigenous con-
servation practices. In particular, a key aspect of Ki-
tasoo/Xai’xais marine conservation—the stewardship
responsibilities of hereditary chiefs—is a form of custom-
ary marine tenure. Customary marine tenures have been
described and studied fairly extensively in the tropical
Pacific (e.g., Cinner 2005; Jupiter et al. 2014), but have
received less attention in the northern Pacific Ocean (but
see Trosper 2009; Lepofsky & Caldwell 2013). Yet unlike
some other regions, where conservation has been de-
scribed as an unintended by-product of customary marine
tenure systems (Cinner & Aswani 2007), we found strong
evidence that conservation is an explicit and essential
component of the responsibility of hereditary chiefs for
their areas, today and in the past.
The main limitation of our research—likely applica-
ble for similar efforts elsewhere—was that gaps exist
in knowledge about past Kitasoo/Xai’xais conservation
practices and protocols. Our account of Kitasoo/Xai’xais
conservation strategies is thus also incomplete, yet we
had to synthesize and simplify the rich descriptions of
known strategies because of space restriction and con-
fidentiality concerns. Still, we provide an overview of
the extent to which conservation was, and is, a focal
point. We focused on marine conservation because the
Canadian government separates marine from terrestrial
jurisdictions, but in the Kitasoo/Xai’xais worldview, land
and sea are a continuum.
Although the importance of indigenous peoples is well
recognized in the conservation literature (e.g., Drew
2005), it nevertheless remains important to highlight
case studies such as that of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais. Colonial
governments continue to undermine attempts by indige-
nous governments to manage their territories (Colchester
2004; Truth and Reconciliation Commission 2015), and
in some cases indigenous peoples continue to be dis-
placed from their territories in the name of conserva-
tion (Lunstrum & Ybarra 2018). Thus, raising awareness
and providing support for indigenous conservation strate-
gies and their authority to govern marine resources is
Conservation Biology
Volume 34, No. 1, 2020
Ban et al. 13
crucial for the future of both indigenous peoples and
biodiversity. If even more areas than at present can be
managed by indigenous people (Garnett et al. 2018), the
future would be brighter for indigenous peoples and bio-
diversity (Ban et al. 2018).
Acknowledgments
The authors are grateful to members of the Kita-
soo/Xai’xais First Nation who have generously shared
their time and knowledge with us for this project. The
authors thank all the Kitasoo/Xai’xais knowledge holders
who contributed to the broader Heritage Project. The
authors also thank the Kitasoo/Xai’xais leadership for
supporting this project and Resource Stewardship past
and present employees. The authors thank C. McKnight
for his research assistant support, S. Harrison for help-
ful comments on the manuscript, and the University of
Victoria Indigenous Law Research Unit for introducing
their method at a workshop. Funding was provided by
the Tides Canada Foundation - British Columbia Marine
Planning Fund, the University of Victoria Lansdowne
Award, and the Social Science and Humanities Research
Council.
Supporting Information
Details of Kitasoo/Xai’xais historical and contemporary
conservation strategies as categorized into the CMP Con-
servation Actions (Appendix S1) are available online. The
authors are solely responsible for the content and func-
tionality of these materials. Queries (other than absence
of the material) should be directed to the corresponding
author.
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Conservation Biology
Volume 34, No. 1, 2020
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Indigenous knowledge and ecological science have complementary differences that can be fruitfully combined to better understand the past and predict the future of social-ecological systems. Cooperation among scientific and Indigenous perspectives can improve conservation and resource management policies.
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As human activities increasingly threaten biodiversity [1, 2], areas devoid of intense human impacts are vital refugia [3]. These wilderness areas contain high genetic diversity, unique functional traits, and endemic species [4-7]; maintain high levels of ecological and evolutionary connectivity [8-10]; and may be well placed to resist and recover from the impacts of climate change [11-13]. On land, rapid declines in wilderness [3] have led to urgent calls for its protection [3, 14]. In contrast, little is known about the extent and protection of marine wilderness [4, 5]. Here we systematically map marine wilderness globally by identifying areas that have both very little impact (lowest 10%) from 15 anthropogenic stressors and also a very low combined cumulative impact from these stressors. We discover that ∼13% of the ocean meets this definition of global wilderness, with most being located in the high seas. Recognizing that human influence differs across ocean regions, we repeat the analysis within each of the 16 ocean realms [15]. Realm-specific wilderness extent varies considerably, with >16 million km2 (8.6%) in the Warm Indo-Pacific, down to <2,000 km2 (0.5%) in Temperate Southern Africa. We also show that the marine protected area estate holds only 4.9% of global wilderness and 4.1% of realm-specific wilderness, very little of which is in biodiverse ecosystems such as coral reefs. Proactive retention of marine wilderness should now be incorporated into global strategies aimed at conserving biodiversity and ensuring that large-scale ecological and evolutionary processes continue. VIDEO ABSTRACT.
Article
State actors are increasingly treating protected areas as sites of security threats and policing resident communities as though they are the cause of this insecurity. This is translating into community eviction from protected areas that is authorised by security concerns and logics and hence not merely conservation concerns. We ground this claim by drawing upon empirical work from two borderland conservation areas: Mozambique's Limpopo National Park (LNP) and Guatemala's Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR). In both cases, we show how these security-provoked evictions are authorised by the mobilisation of interlocking axes of difference that articulate notions of territorial trespass with that of a racialised enemy. Rather than a new problem or phenomena, we show how these axes are rooted in prior histories of state actors rendering racialised subjects dangerous, Cold War histories in both cases and a longer colonial history with the LNP. We also show how standing behind these evictions is the nation-state and its practices of protected area territorialisation. From here, we illustrate how the rationale behind displacement from protected areas matters, as evictions become more difficult to contest once they are authorised by security considerations. The cases, however, differ in one key respect. While displacement from the LNP is an instance of conservation-induced displacement (CID), although one re-worked by security considerations, eviction from the MBR is motivated more centrally by security concerns yet takes advantage of protected area legislation. The study hence offers insight into a growing literature on conservation-security encounters and into different articulations of conservation, security, and displacement.
Article
en Conservation practice has demonstrated an increasing desire for accountability of actions, particularly with respect to effectiveness, efficiency, and impact to clearly identified objectives. This has been accompanied by increased attention to achieving adaptive management. In 2002, practitioners representing several prominent conservation nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) launched a community of practice called the Conservation Measures Partnership (CMP). The partnership CMP has worked to establish standards of conservation practice to improve accountability of conservation actions through adaptive management. The focal organizing framework for CMP has been the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation (OS). We evaluated, through an online survey and personal interviews, the first decade of CMP and the OS. The CMP has garnered a positive reputation among agencies, NGOs, and funders and has succeeded in developing a large user base of the OS. However, CMP has not fully achieved its goal of making the OS standard operating procedure for the largest NGOs (e.g., The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund), despite it being widely used within these organizations. This lack of institutionalization is attributable to multiple causes, including an increase in the number of partially overlapping decision‐support frameworks and challenges achieving full‐cycle adaptive management. Users strongly believed the OS fosters better conservation practice and highly valued the OS for improving their practice. A primary objective of the OS is to assist practitioners to achieve full‐cycle adaptive management to better integrate learning into improving the effectiveness and efficiency of actions. However, most practitioners had not yet achieved cycle completion for their projects. To improve the effectiveness of CMP, OS, and conservation practice in general, we recommend collaborative efforts among the proponents of multiple decision‐support frameworks to foster strong institutional adoption of a common set of adaptive‐management standards for conservation accountability. Abstract es Evaluación del Esfuerzo de la Asociación de Medidas de Conservación para Mejorar los Resultados de la Conservación a través del Manejo Adaptativo Resumen La práctica de la conservación ha demostrado un creciente deseo por la rendición de cuentas de acciones, particularmente con respecto a la efectividad, eficiencia y el impacto de los objetivos identificados claramente. Esto ha ido acompañado por una atención creciente por la obtención del manejo adaptativo. En 2002, los practicantes que representaban a varias prominentes organizaciones no gubernamentales (ONGs) de la conservación lanzaron una comunidad de práctica llamada la Asociación de Medidas de Conservación (CMP, en inglés). La CMP ha trabajado para establecer estándares de la práctica de la conservación y así mejorar la rendición de cuentas de las acciones de conservación por medio del manejo adaptativo. La infraestructura principal que organiza a la CMP ha sido la de Estándares Abiertos para la Práctica de la Conservación (OS, en inglés). Evaluamos la primera década de la CMP y el OS por medio de una encuesta en línea y de entrevistas personales. La CMP se ha ganado una reputación positiva entre las agencias, las ONGs y los inversionistas, y ha tenido éxito en el desarrollo de una gran base de usuarios del OS. Sin embargo, la CMP no ha alcanzado totalmente su objetivo de hacer del OS el procedimiento estándar para las ONGs más grandes (p. ej.: The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund), a pesar de que se usa ampliamente dentro de estas organizaciones. Esta falta de institucionalización puede atribuirse a causas múltiples, incluyendo un incremento en el número de infraestructuras para el apoyo a las decisiones que se traslapan parcialmente y los retos en la obtención de un manejo adaptativo con ciclo completo. Los usuarios creyeron firmemente que el OS promueve una mejor práctica de la conservación y valoraron ampliamente al OS por mejorar su práctica de la conservación. Un objetivo primario del OS es asistir a los practicantes para que alcancen un manejo adaptativo con ciclo completo y así integrar de mejor manera el aprendizaje dentro de la mejora de la efectividad y la eficiencia de las acciones. Sin embargo, la mayoría de los practicantes aún no han alcanzado el ciclo completo para sus proyectos. Para mejorar la efectividad de la CMP, el OS y la práctica de la conservación en general, recomendamos esfuerzos colaborativos entre quienes proponen múltiples infraestructuras de apoyo a las decisiones para fomentar la adopción institucional firme de un conjunto común de estándares de manejo adaptativo para la rendición de cuentas de la conservación. 摘要 zh 保护实践表明, 人们越来越希望为实践活动建立责任制, 特别是在有效性、效率, 及对明确确立的目标的影响方面。伴随着人们越来越注重实现适应性管理。在2002年, 来自保护领域的多个知名非政府组织 (NGOs) 的代表发起成立了一个名为 “保护措施伙伴关系” (Conservation Measures Partnership, CMP) 的保护实践团体。 CMP 伙伴关系致力于建立保护实践的标准, 通过适应性管理推动保护行动的责任制。保护实践的开放标准 (Open Standards, OS) 一向是 CMP 的重点组织框架。我们通过在线调查和个人访谈, 评估了 CMP 和 OS 的第一个十年表现。 CMP 在组织机构、 NGO 和资助者中享有良好声誉, 并成功发展了许多 OS 的使用者。然而, CMP 还没有完全达成其让最大的 NGO (如大自然保护协会、世界自然基金会) 把 OS 作为标准操作程序的目标, 尽管 OS 已被这些组织广泛使用。这一制度缺失有多方面原因, 包括决策支持框架的部分重叠越来越多, 以及实现全周期适应性管理存在的挑战。 OS 的使用者坚信 OS 促进了更好的保护实践, 并高度评价了其在提升实践中的作用。 OS 的一个主要目标是帮助实践者实现全周期适应性管理, 以便更好地将学习与提高行动的有效性和效率结合起来。然而, 大多实践者的项目尚未形成完整的周期。为整体提升 CMP、 OS 和保护实践的有效性, 我们建议在多个决策支持框架的支持者之间进行协作努力, 以促进强有力的机构在保护责任制上采用一套相同的适应性管理标准。【翻译: 胡怡思; 审校: 魏辅文】
Article
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are inherent to international commitments to protect the oceans and have the potential to recognize, honour, and re-invigorate Indigenous rights. Involvement of Indigenous peoples in the governance and management of MPAs, however, has received little attention. A review of the literature revealed only 15 publications on this topic (< 0.5% of papers on MPAs). In these case studies, governance arrangements of MPAs involving Indigenous peoples ranged from state-led to community-based, and included a spectrum of approaches in between. Cultural goals—which are compatible with biodiversity conservation—were emphasized by Indigenous peoples, and ecological goals were prevalent in state-led marine protected areas. Achievement of at least some cultural goals was the most common mention of success, whereas social issues were the most common challenge. Additional work is needed to ensure that existing and future MPAs serve the dual goals of biodiversity conservation and supporting Indigenous rights.